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The 1987 Daytona 500, the 29th running of the event, was held February 15 at Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Driving his Coors/Melling #9 Ford Thunderbird, Bill Elliott had a dominant week, winning the pole with a record speed of 210.364 mph, winning the Busch Clash,[3] and finishing second in a photo finish to Ken Schrader in his Twin 125 qualifier[4] before winning his second Daytona 500.[5]

1987 Daytona 500
Race details[1]
Race 1 of 29 in the 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Track map of Daytona International Speedway showing mainly the speedway.
Track map of Daytona International Speedway showing mainly the speedway.
Date February 15, 1987 (1987-02-15)
Location Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.02336 km)
Distance 200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)
Weather Mild with temperatures approaching 72 °F (22 °C); wind speeds approaching 10.1 miles per hour (16.3 km/h)
Average speed 176.263 miles per hour (283.668 km/h)
Attendance 145,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Melling Racing
Qualifying race winners
Duel 1 Winner Ken Schrader Donlavey Racing
Duel 2 Winner Benny Parsons Hendrick Motorsports
Most laps led
Driver Bill Elliott Melling Racing
Laps 104
No. 9 Bill Elliott Melling Racing
Television in the United States
Network CBS
Announcers Ken Squier, David Hobbs and Ned Jarrett
Nielsen Ratings 9.4/26
(12.4 million viewers)

After numerous crashes in other races that week, the 1987 Daytona 500 was relatively incident free, with only 4 cautions for 15 laps, and no serious wrecks. For the final fifty laps of the race, Elliott, Earnhardt, Parsons, Baker, Bodine, Petty and Schrader put on a back and forth duel for the win, resulting in a near record average speed of 176.263 mph for race winner Elliott.



  • This was the last of the non-restrictor plate Daytona 500's.
  • Bill Elliott dominated much of the race, leading 104 of the 200 laps. During two different points in the race, he pulled away from the other leaders and was all by himself on the track, leading the first 35 laps, 29 in a row at another point, and the last three.
  • Benny Parsons finished three car lengths back of Elliott. During the late-race pit stops for fuel, he overshot his pit which cost him several seconds. Parsons was subbing for an ill Tim Richmond in the Hendrick Motorsports Folgers Chevrolet Monte Carlo, renumbered 35 from its usual #25. Parsons also won his Twin 125 mile qualifying race on the Thursday before the Daytona 500. [6]
  • Geoff Bodine led the race with three laps to go after all the front runners had pitted for fuel. His crew chief Gary Nelson told CBS pit reporter Mike Joy that they were not going to pit and would either win or run out of fuel. Bodine won the 1986 Daytona 500 after Dale Earnhardt ran out of fuel with three laps to go. Bodine, though, was largely a non-factor in the rest of the race, only leading 10 laps which were all related to having better fuel mileage than the other competitors.
  • Davey Allison made his debut as a rookie in the Ranier Racing #28 T-Bird, and promptly qualified on the outside pole for the race, then finishing 6th in his Twin 125 qualifier. He showed good speed in the 500, running second to leader Elliott early on, before losing a wheel on a botched pit stop and losing several laps for repairs.


  1. ^ "Weather of the 1987 Daytona 500". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Archived from the original on 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  2. ^ 1987 Daytona 500 race information at Racing Reference
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