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1988 Southern 500

The 1988 Southern 500, the 39th running of the event, was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on September 4, 1988, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.

1988 Southern 500
Race details[1]
Race 21 of 29 in the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Layout of Darlington Raceway
Date September 4, 1988 (1988-September-04)
Official name Southern 500
Location Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.366 mi (2.198 km)
Distance 367 laps, 501.3 mi (806.7 km)
Weather Hot with temperatures reaching up to 88 °F (31 °C); wind speeds up to 13 miles per hour (21 km/h)
Average speed 128.297 miles per hour (206.474 km/h)
Attendance 74,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Melling Racing
Most laps led
Driver Bill Elliott Melling Racing
Laps 154
Winner
No. 9 Bill Elliott Melling Racing
Television in the United States
Network ESPN
Announcers Bob Jenkins
Ned Jarrett
Gary Nelson

All the wives of the participating NASCAR drivers received a special racing pass that allowed them to access all aspects of racing life except for the pits where the drivers' crew did their actual work.

BackgroundEdit

 
Layout of Darlington Raceway, the track where the race was held.

Darlington Raceway, nicknamed by many NASCAR fans and drivers as "The Lady in Black" or "The Track Too Tough to Tame" and advertised as a "NASCAR Tradition", is a race track built for NASCAR racing located near Darlington, South Carolina. It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars' handling in a way that will be effective at both ends.

The track is a four-turn 1.366 miles (2.198 km) oval.[3] The track's first two turns are banked at twenty-five degrees, while the final two turns are banked two degrees lower at twenty-three degrees.[3] The front stretch (the location of the finish line) and the back stretch is banked at six degrees.[3] Darlington Raceway can seat up to 60,000 people.[3]

SummaryEdit

Lasting almost four hours, this final "traditional" Southern 500 racing event would feature Bill Elliott (employed at that time by Mr. Harry Melling of Melling Racing) defeating Rusty Wallace (employed by Raymond Beadle Blue Max Racing racing team during this era) by 0.24 seconds; the average speed of the race was 128.297 miles per hour (206.474 km/h).[2] Four drivers would fail to qualify for this race; which had ten cautions for a whopping 49 laps.[2] 74000 people would attend the race to see 367 laps of racing action; last-place finisher Harry Gant would only finish 50 of them due to engine difficulties.[2] Twenty-four different changes would be made for the first-place position of the race.[2] The pole winner was also the winner of the race; qualifying with speeds up to 160.827 miles per hour (258.826 km/h).[2] Both Richard Petty and his son Kyle would compete in this race.[2] Notable drivers at the race also included Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, and Alan Kulwicki.[2]

Two different drivers would be involved in accidents; Derrike Cope on lap 203 and Ken Ragan on lap 308.[4] A stock car carrying the Ford manufacturer won the race while Chevrolet was the official manufacturer of the last-place finisher.[4] The total purse of the race was $431,345 ($913,786.3 when adjusted for inflation); with the winner taking $75,800 of the purse ($160,579.12 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

From the following year to the end of the autumn Southern 500 races in 2004, a sponsor's name would be added to the overall race name; reducing the traditionalism surrounding the early "Southern 500" races.

TimelineEdit

Section reference:[2]

  • Start: Bill Elliott was ahead of the other drivers as the green flag was waved
  • Lap 41: NASCAR officials gave out a competition caution, caution ended on lap 44
  • Lap 50: Harry Gant had to leave the race because his vehicle's engine stopped working properly
  • Lap 54: Caution due to Morgan Shepherd's engine failure, caution ended on lap 60
  • Lap 82: Rick Wilson's vehicle had engine problems and had to leave the race
  • Lap 113: Jimmy Horton had to leave the race due to engine failure
  • Lap 130: Caution due to Brett Bodine causing terminal damage to his vehicle, caution ended on lap 132
  • Lap 135: Randy Baker had to leave the race due to a problematic engine
  • Lap 167: Caution due to Rick Mast causing terminal damage to his vehicle on turn 1, caution ended on lap 170
  • Lap 206: Caution due to Derrike Cope causing terminal damage to his vehicle on turn 4, caution ended on lap 208
  • Lap 236: Caution due to Richard Petty causing terminal damage to his vehicle on turn 2, caution ended on lap 239
  • Lap 239: Dale Jarrett had to the leave the race due to engine difficulties
  • Lap 257: Caution due to Ken Bouchard spinning out on the front stretch, caution ended on lap 260
  • Lap 302: Caution due to H.B. Bailey spinning out on turn 4, caution ended on lap 305
  • Lap 312: Caution due to debris in the backstretch, caution ended on lap 314
  • Lap 317: Bobby Hillin, Jr. had to leave the race due to oil pressure problems
  • Lap 328: Caution due to Ken Ragan causing terminal damage to his vehicle on turn 4, caution ended on lap 330
  • Finish: Bill Elliott was officially declared the winner of the event

Official resultsEdit

Pos Grid No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Points
1 1 9 Bill Elliott Melling Racing Ford 367 185
2 5 27 Rusty Wallace Blue Max Racing Pontiac 367 175
3 2 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 367 170
4 6 17 Darrell Waltrip Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 367 165
5 12 44 Sterling Marlin Hagan Racing Oldsmobile 367 160
6 21 55 Phil Parsons Precision Products Racing Oldsmobile 366 150
7 4 5 Geoff Bodine Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 366 151
8 23 11 Terry Labonte Junior Johnson & Associates Chevrolet 366 142
9 15 28 Davey Allison Robert Yates Racing Ford 366 143
10 29 26 Ricky Rudd King Racing Buick 366 139
11 25 25 Ken Schrader Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 366 130
12 11 83 Lake Speed Speed Racing Oldsmobile 366 127
13 27 90 Benny Parsons Donlavey Racing Ford 365 129
14 30 12 Mike Alexander Stavola Brothers Racing Buick 365 126
15 3 7 Alan Kulwicki AK Racing Ford 365 118
16 24 75 Neil Bonnett RahMoc Enterprises Pontiac 364 115
17 8 15 Brett Bodine Bud Moore Engineering Ford 363 117
18 36 10 Ken Bouchard # Whitcomb Racing Ford 360 109
19 7 6 Mark Martin Roush Racing Ford 358 106
20 17 2 Ernie Irvan # U.S. Racing Chevrolet 358 103
21 13 97 Rodney Combs Winkle Motorsports Buick 365 100
22 38 71 Dave Marcis Marcis Auto Racing Chevrolet 355 97
23 32 31 Jim Sauter Bob Clark Motorsports Oldsmobile 351
24 28 52 Jimmy Means Means Racing Pontiac 350 91
25 14 30 Michael Waltrip Bahari Racing Pontiac 343 88
26 33 23 Eddie Bierschwale B&B Racing Oldsmobile 340 85
27 34 36 H. B. Bailey Bailey Racing Pontiac 340 82
28 35 21 Kyle Petty Wood Brothers Racing Ford 337 84
29 39 32 Philip Duffie Duffie Racing Buick 332 81
30 16 8 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Stavola Brothers Racing Buick 317 73
31 20 77 Ken Ragan Bob Beard Racing Ford 308 70
32 22 88 Rick Mast Baker-Schiff Racing Oldsmobile 305
33 26 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises Pontiac 266 64
34 18 29 Dale Jarrett Cale Yarborough Racing Oldsmobile 239 61
35 31 68 Derrike Cope Testa Racing Ford 203 58
36 37 87 Randy Baker Buck Baker Racing Oldsmobile 135 55
37 40 80 Jimmy Horton # S & H Racing Ford 114 52
38 19 4 Rick Wilson Morgan-McClure Motorsports Oldsmobile 82 49
39 10 57 Morgan Shepherd Shepherd Racing Buick 53 46
40 9 33 Harry Gant Mach 1 Racing Chevrolet 50 43
Did Not Qualify
# Rookie of the Year candidate / † Driver change following qualifying
Source:[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weather information for the 1988 Southern 500 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 1988 Southern 500 racing information at Racing Reference
  3. ^ a b c d "Darlington Raceway". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  4. ^ a b 1988 Southern 500 Archived 2012-04-29 at the Wayback Machine racing information at Driver Averages
  5. ^ 1988 Southern 500 at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet
Preceded by
1988 Busch 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1988
Succeeded by
1988 Miller High Life 400
Preceded by
1987
Southern 500 races
1988
Succeeded by
1989