1987 Southern 500

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1987 Southern 500
Race details
Race 21 of 29 in the 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Date September 6, 1987 (1987-September-06)
Official name Southern 500
Location Darlington Raceway, Darlington County, South Carolina
Course Permanent racing facility
1.366 mi (2.198 km)
Distance 202 laps, 275.932 mi (444.069 km)
Scheduled Distance 367 laps, 501.322 mi (806.8 km)
Weather Very hot with temperatures of 82 °F (28 °C); wind speeds of 17.6 miles per hour (28.3 km/h)[1]
Average speed 115.52 miles per hour (185.91 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Ranier-Lundy Racing
Most laps led
Driver Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Laps 109
Winner
No. 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing
Television in the United States
Network ESPN
Announcers Bob Jenkins & Larry Nuber

The 1987 Heinz Southern 500, the 38th running of the event, was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race held on September 6, 1987 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. Contested over 202 laps – shortened from 367 laps due to rain – on the 1.366 mile (2.198 km) speedway, it was the 21st race of the 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Dale Earnhardt of Richard Childress Racing won the race.

Race report[edit]

Johnathan Lee Edwards would make his final NASCAR career start while Richard Petty would finish in the "top ten" for the 700th time in his career.[2]

The last race attempt for Tim Richmond sees him withdraw for health reasons, then resign from Hendrick Motorsports later in the month.[2] An attempted comeback in 1988 was ultimately not to be, due to a highly controversial "positive" drug test that barred him for the 1988 season. He was reinstated later in the year after a settled lawsuit, but couldn't find a ride, and ultimately never raced again before his death in 1989.

Alan Kulwicki had engine problems on lap 77; picking up his only last place-finish.[2] Harry Gant could handle his vehicle's clutch and had to exit the race on lap 95.[2] Greg Sacks' engine gave out on lap 96 while Johnathan Lee Edwards had the same problem on lap 122.[2] Trevor Boys inflicted terminal vehicle damage on lap 126 while fatigue ended H.B. Bailey's race on lap 133.[2] Connie Saylor would pass out due to exhaustion on lap 140.[2] Bobby Allison blew his vehicle's engine on lap 185 while a troublesome distributor ended Buddy Baker's race on lap 199.[2]

The battle for the win turned into a showdown between Earnhardt and Richard Petty; Petty gunned past Earnhardt on a Lap 188 restart but Earnhardt retook the lead on lap 191 just before rain brought out what would be the race-ending yellow at Lap 198.[2] Rookie sensation Davey Allison won the pole and led 86 laps but crashed in the fourth turn at Lap 164; the crash swept up Lake Speed while Mike Potter spun behind them and was drilled by Benny Parsons.[2]

Qualifying[edit]

Grid No. Driver Manufacturer Owner
1 28 Davey Allison Ford Harry Ranier
2 9 Bill Elliott Ford Harry Melling
3 11 Terry Labonte Chevrolet Junior Johnson
4 83 Lake Speed Oldsmobile Lake Speed
5 3 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Richard Childress
6 7 Alan Kulwicki Ford Alan Kulwicki
7 17 Darrell Waltrip Chevrolet Rick Hendrick
8 4 Rick Wilson Oldsmobile Larry McClure
9 35 Benny Parsons Chevrolet Rick Hendrick
10 33 Harry Gant Chevrolet Hal Needham

Top ten finishers[edit]

Pos No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps led Status
1 3 Dale Earnhardt Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 109 Running
2 27 Rusty Wallace Blue Max Racing Pontiac 0 Running
3 43 Richard Petty Petty Enterprises Pontiac 2 Running
4 44 Sterling Marlin Hagan Racing Oldsmobile 0 Running
5 11 Terry Labonte Junior Johnson & Associates Chevrolet 0 Running
6 8 Bobby Hillin Jr. Stavola Brothers Racing Buick 0 Running
7 15 Ricky Rudd Bud Moore Engineering Ford 0 Running
8 9 Bill Elliott Melling Racing Ford 1 Running
9 26 Morgan Shepherd King Racing Buick 0 Running
10 17 Darrell Waltrip Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1 Running

Race statistics[edit]

The race had the following properties:[3]

  • Time of race: 2:23:19
  • Average Speed: 115.52 miles per hour (185.91 km/h)
  • Pole Speed: 157.232 miles per hour (253.040 km/h)
  • Cautions: 5 for 50 laps
  • Margin of Victory: under caution
  • Lead changes: 13
  • Percent of race run under caution: 24.8%
  • Average green flag run: 38 laps

References[edit]