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1989 Atlanta Journal 500

The 1989 Atlanta Journal 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on November 19, 1989, at Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia. This was the first Cup race after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

1989 Atlanta Journal 500
Race details[1]
Race 29 of 29 in the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Layout of Atlanta International Speedway, used until 1996
Layout of Atlanta International Speedway, used until 1996
Date November 19, 1989 (1989-November-19)
Official name Atlanta Journal 500
Location Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia
Course Permanent racing facility
1.522 mi (2.449 km)
Distance 328 laps, 499.2 mi (803.3 km)
Weather Cold with temperatures of 60.1 °F (15.6 °C); wind speeds of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)
Average speed 140.299 miles per hour (225.789 km/h)
Attendance 78,000[2]
Pole position
Driver Alan Kulwicki
Most laps led
Driver Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Laps 249
Winner
No. 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network ESPN
Announcers Bob Jenkins
Ned Jarrett
Benny Parsons

Five of the most dominant drivers of the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season were Dale Earnhardt (average finish 10th place), Rusty Wallace (average finish 10th place), Mark Martin (average finish 11th place), Darrell Waltrip (average finish 12th place), and Bill Elliott (average finish of 13th place).

BackgroundEdit

Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) is one of ten current intermediate track 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 with New Hampshire just under construction.

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]

Race reportEdit

It took three hours and thirty-six minutes to complete this 328-lap event in front of 78,000 people.[2] Dale Earnhardt managed to defeat Geoffrey Bodine by nearly 26 seconds. Eight drivers failed to qualify for this race.[2] There were four accidents and two debris-related incidents; causing 11% of the race to be run under a caution flag.[2] The average duration of laps under the green flag was almost 42 laps.[2]

Grant Adcox crashed heavily on lap 198 of the event and died of major chest and head injuries, also suffering a heart attack as result of the crash.[2] Upon investigation, it was determined that the severe impact had torn his improperly mounted racing seat away from its mount entirely, and this led to Adcox's death. It also led to new safety regulations on the way seats were mounted for the 1990 season.

Earnhardt was the winner of $81,700 ($176,047 when adjusted for inflation) while last-place finisher Phil Parsons walked away with ($9,146 when adjusted for inflation).[5]

Coming into this race, Mark Martin didn't yet have the stuff yet to win the Cup. He had won his first race two weeks before Atlanta. Dale Earnhardt was the odds-on favorite to win the Winston Cup by October. After a series of three bad finishes in his home state of North Carolina, he was second in the running for the championship. Rusty Wallace didn't start off strong and went three laps down even though he led all but 89 laps of this race.[2] Rusty Wallace would clinch the championship in this race; despite overcoming multiple pit road issues. He settled for a 15th-place finish.[6]

Last race for Hollywood director Hal Needham's race team, the blown motor on lap 213 put the #66 Chevy of Rick Mast, and the team, into retirement early.[2]

Drivers who failed to qualify for the race were Bill Meacham, Eddie Bierschwale, Tracy Leslie, J.D. McDuffie, Jerry O'Neil, Patty Moise, Norm Benning and Jimmy Means.[7]

Top ten finishersEdit

Pos[2] Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Laps Winnings Laps led Points Time/Status
1 3 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet 328 $81,700 249 185 3:33:36
2 7 5 Geoffrey Bodine Chevrolet 328 $33,625 0 170 +25.71 seconds
3 6 94 Sterling Marlin Oldsmobile 328 $25,275 5 170 Lead lap under green flag
4 2 25 Ken Schrader Chevrolet 328 $18,875 38 165 Lead lap under green flag
5 8 17 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet 327 $18,800 1 160 +1 lap
6 16 42 Kyle Petty Pontiac 326 $6,775 0 150 +2 laps
7 29 8 Bobby Hillin, Jr. Buick 326 $13,117 0 146 +2 laps
8 24 75 Morgan Shepherd Pontiac 326 $13,350 0 142 +2 laps
9 26 21 Neil Bonnett Ford 326 $8,950 0 138 +2 laps
10 22 83 Lake Speed Oldsmobile 326 $10,925 0 134 +2 laps

TimelineEdit

Section reference: [2]

  • Start of race: Alan Kulwicki started the race with the pole position but quickly lost it to Ken Schrader
  • Lap 2: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Ken Schrader before losing it to Davey Allison on lap 53
  • Lap 13: Caution due to Rodney Coombs' accident, ended on lap 15
  • Lap 56: Dick Trickle took over the lead from Darrell Waltrip before losing it to Ricky Rudd on lap 85
  • Lap 59: Caution due to a three-car accident, ended on lap 64
  • Lap 84: Caution due to debris on the backstretch, ended on lap 87
  • Lap 89: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Ken Schrader before losing it back to Ken Schrader on lap 141
  • Lap 146: Dale Earnhardt took over the lead from Ken Schrader before losing it to Sterling Marlin on lap 228
  • Lap 172: Caution due to Rob Moroso's accident, ended on lap 176
  • Lap 204: Caution due to a Grant Adcox's accident, ended on lap 214
  • Lap 227: Caution due to Mark Martin spilling oil on the track, ended on lap 232
  • Finish: Dale Earnhardt was officially declared the winner of the event

Standings after the raceEdit

Pos Driver Points[2] Differential
1   Rusty Wallace 4176 0
2   Dale Earnhardt 4164 -12
3   Mark Martin 4058 -118
4   Darrell Waltrip 3971 -205
5   Ken Schrader 3786 -390
6   Bill Elliott 3774 -402
7   Harry Gant 3610 -566
8   Ricky Rudd 3608 -568
9   Geoffrey Bodine 3600 -576
10   Terry Labonte 3564 -612

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1989 Atlanta Journal 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Race information for the 1989 Atlanta Journal 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. ^ "1964 Atlanta 500 racing information". Driver Averages. Archived from the original on 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  6. ^ AMS Flashback: Wallace Hangs On To Win 1989 Title Archived 2015-06-11 at the Wayback Machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway
  7. ^ "1989 Atlanta Journal 500 qualifying information". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
Preceded by
1989 Autoworks 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1989-90
Succeeded by
1990 Daytona 500