One thing stands out among the 44 Cup Series wins that Bill Elliott earned in his career.
The 1988 champion made a name for himself dominating on superspeedways and other tracks 1 mile and longer, but he only won twice on short tracks.
The first came in dramatic fashion early in his championship season in the Valleydale Meats 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
After starting 13th, Elliott took the lead on Lap 379. He led the next 113 laps and along the way picked up a tail in the form of Geoffrey Bodine.
With nine laps to go, Bodine moved to Elliott’s inside as they entered Turn 3. Bodine’s No. 5 Chevrolet then nosed up into Elliott’s left-rear quarter panel, sending Elliott into a smokey spin.
The incident brought out the caution as Bodine took the lead.
During the caution, Elliott and the third-place car of Mark Martin took four new tires in the pits. Luckily for them, there were only three cars on the lead lap.
Elliott beat Martin off pit road and they lined up behind Bodine in the outside lane with as the race resumed with four laps to go.
Bodine’s lead would last just a lap-and-a-half. On his four new tires, Elliott eased his way underneath Bodine in Turns 1 and 2 with three laps to go. Bodine edged Elliott down the backstretch, but in Turn 3 and 4 Elliott bounced lightly off him, causing Bodine to get out of shape as Elliott took the lead and then the win.
“I didn’t have any doubt at all, I was going to get by him one way or the other,” Elliott told ESPN.
Elliott’s only other short-track win would come in 1992 at Richmond.
Also on this date:
1960: In his third career start at the track, Richard Petty won his first of 15 career Cup races at Martinsville Speedway, winning over Jimmy Massey and Glen Wood. It was his second of 200 career wins.
1971: Bobby Isaac led 181 of 200 laps to win in his fourth straight start at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. Isaac did it in front of roughly 8,500 fans in attendance and an audience watching on ABC, which aired it live flag-to-flag, eight years before the 1979 Daytona 500.
1980 – Kasey Kahne, future 18-time Cup winner, was born
2010 – Ryan Newman ended a 77-race winless streak with a victory at Phoenix Raceway over Jeff Gordon. It was his first victory with Stewart-Haas Racing and his first victory since the 2008 Daytona 500.