Open main menu

1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500

The 1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event held on March 20, 1988, at Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia.

1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500
Race details[1]
Race 4 of 29 in the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
Layout of Atlanta International Raceway, used until 1997
Layout of Atlanta International Raceway, used until 1997
Date March 20, 1988 (1988-03-20)
Official name Motorcraft Quality Parts 500
Location Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia
Course 1.522 mi (2.449 km)
Distance 328 laps, 499.2 mi (803.3 km)
Weather Temperatures of 68 °F (20 °C); wind speeds of 15.9 miles per hour (25.6 km/h)
Average speed 137.588 miles per hour (221.426 km/h)
Attendance 62,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Hendrick Motorsports
Most laps led
Driver Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Laps 270
No. 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network American Broadcasting Company
Announcers Keith Jackson
Jerry Punch

A souvenir program was handed out at this racing event; each copy sold at $5 USD ($10.59 when adjusted for inflation).

This was the last NASCAR race called for ABC by Keith Jackson. Paul Page began calling races at the 1988 Firecracker 400 until Bob Jenkins took over in the 1990s.


Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) is one of ten current intermediate tracks to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway.[3] However, at the time, only Charlotte and Darlington were built.

The layout at Atlanta International Speedway at the time was a four-turn traditional oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long.[4] The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.[4]



Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 5 Geoffrey Bodine Chevrolet Rick Hendrick
2 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Richard Childress
3 9 Bill Elliott Ford Harry Melling
4 27 Rusty Wallace Pontiac Raymond Beadle
5 15 Brett Bodine Ford Bud Moore
6 14 A. J. Foyt Oldsmobile A.J. Foyt
7 6 Mark Martin Ford Jack Roush
8 90 Benny Parsons Ford Junie Donlavey
9 25 Ken Schrader Chevrolet Rick Hendrick
10 17 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet Rick Hendrick

Eleven drivers failed to qualify for the race:[5][6]

Two drivers were awarded provisional qualifying positions at the back of the grid. These were Davey Allison (41st), and Ken Bouchard (42nd). Dale Jarrett started in 40th position on the grid, in Connie Saylor's No. 99 car, thus Jarrett was awarded the driver points for the car's finish.


There were 42 cars on the starting grid for this 328-lap race. Approximately 12% of this event was held under caution. A long green flag stretch between laps 152 and 297 would be dominated by Dale Earnhardt, Benny Parsons and Rusty Wallace in addition to several other drivers. Benny Parsons had a car worthy of winning this race, he was the only one who could hang with Earnhardt through the first half of the race. He got trapped a lap down after a crash during green flag pit stops. Dale Earnhardt would end up besting Rusty Wallace by 9 seconds after racing for more than three and a half hours. This would become his first points victory in the #3 black Chevrolet machine.[5]

This race was only a tease for the rest of 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series for Dale Earnhardt and his devoted fans; Bill Elliott and Rusty Wallace would win most of the races that year.[7] By the time that Earnhardt achieved his final NASCAR Cup Series win at the 2000 Winston 500, he had already picked up 45 wins with the black Chevrolet that people still associate with him today. Former NASCAR crew chief and driver Kirk Shelmerdine would guide Earnhardt to the 32nd win of his NASCAR Cup Series career.[8]

Jimmy Means finished in the last place position due to a problem with his engine on the third lap. All of the drivers in this event were born in the United States of America. Brad Noffsinger made his debut and finished in 14th place (after starting in a 25th place). Geoffrey Bodine would win the pole position for Hendrick Motorsports at a speed of 176.623 miles per hour (284.247 km/h); while racing speeds would average 137.588 miles per hour (221.426 km/h). Sixty-two thousand attended this event and would see Derrike Cope become the lowest-finishing driver to complete the event; despite being more than 100 laps behind the lead vehicles. Bill Elliott's crash on lap 312 would prevent him from a top ten finish. A.J. Foyt had a competitive run from his 6th-place qualification right up to lap 85; where his engine gave out and knocked him out of the race.[2]

Ricky Rudd's Quaker State car blew a motor on lap 253.[2] The first commercial break played on television after the incident was ironically a Quaker State "Quaker State Engines Don't Quit" message showing the alleged superiority of car engines using Quaker State.

Despite Bill Elliott's lackluster performance in this race, he would go on to defeat Rusty Wallace for the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup championship by a mere 24 points. The only drivers to win a Ford vehicle were him, Dale Jarrett and Alan Kulwicki.[9] Brad Noffsinger and Rodney Combs were refused NASCAR championship points for not submitting their entry forms to the NASCAR officials in a suitable amount of time. They did, however, qualify for their respective spots and were cleared to compete.[10]

Individual monetary earnings from this event ranged from the winner's share of $69,750 ($147,762 when adjusted for inflation) to the last-place share of $4,410 ($9,342 when adjusted for inflation). The total prize purse for this racing event was $416,355 ($882,031 when adjusted for inflation).[11]

Finishing orderEdit

Section reference:[2]

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Neil Bonnett 632 0
2   Dale Earnhardt 628 -4
3   Rusty Wallace 593 -39
4   Sterling Marlin 575 -57
5   Darrell Waltrip 561 -71
6   Bobby Allison 547 -85
7   Terry Labonte 543 -89
8   Buddy Baker 537 -95
9   Ken Schrader 534 -98
10   Bobby Hillin, Jr. 516 -116


  1. ^ Weather information for the 1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e Racing information for the 1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 at Racing Reference
  3. ^ "NASCAR Race Tracks". NASCAR. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "NASCAR Tracks—The Atlanta Motor Speedway". Atlanta Motor Speedway. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 -". Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  6. ^ Motor Racing Network original broadcast (1988 Motorcraft 500)
  7. ^ NASCAR Winston Cup standings for 1988 at Racing Reference
  8. ^ Racing/crew chief information for the 1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 at Race Database
  9. ^ Timeline of Bill Elliott Archived 2012-08-29 at the Wayback Machine at Bill Elliott's official website
  10. ^ Points situation regarding Noffsinger/Combs at CBS Sports
  11. ^ Racing information for the 1988 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1988 Goodwrench 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
Succeeded by
1988 TranSouth 500