Atlanta 500 - Notable Races

Notable Races

  • 1960: The first race at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) was won by Bobby Johns in a 1960 Pontiac.
  • 1971: A.J. Foyt outdueled Richard Petty for his fifth career NASCAR win.
  • 1972: Bobby Allison posted the first win for Chevrolet on a superspeedway since the 1960s as he held off a strong challenge from Foyt and Bobby Isaac.
  • 1974: Cale Yarborough grabbed the lead when David Pearson pitted under green and was trapped by an ill-timed yellow; the race was shortened to 450 miles (720 km) due to the energy crisis.
  • 1975: After winning the Dixie 500 four times Richard Petty edged Buddy Baker for his first Atlanta 500 win.
  • 1976: Pearson lost a lap early and spent 225 laps getting it back before winning. Yarborough lost four laps on a green-flag stop and got three of them back to finish third.
  • 1979: Buddy Baker caught a late yellow, got four tires, and won in a late sprint, his first win since 1976.
  • 1980: Sophomore Dale Earnhardt took the lead with 30 to go after Cale Yarborough broke while chasing down Bobby Allison. USAC stock car racer Rusty Wallace finished a strong second. Donnie Allison crashed out of the lead with sophomore Terry Labonte in what became his final race for car owner Hoss Ellington.
  • 1981: Yarborough posted his first win for car owner M.C. Anderson, but the story of the race was a loud protest by Bobby Allison over NASCAR-mandated reduction of the spoiler of his 1981 Pontiac Lemans to reduce the car's aerodynamic efficiency. Car owner Harry Ranier threatened to boycott the race but got no support in the garage area and relented to the rule change.
  • 1982: After Dale Earnhardt fell out rain hit the race and Darrell Waltrip edged Richard Petty to the race-ending yellow.
  • 1983: Cale Yarborough drove a backup car to victory for the second time in 1983. He'd wrecked his primary Ranier Chevy a week earlier in Rockingham and used a car that had been a show car.
  • 1984: Benny Parsons posted his final win.
  • 1986: Morgan Shepherd outran Dale Earnhardt for his first win in five years and the first of three wins at Atlanta.
  • 1987: Dale Earnhardt fell out late and Ricky Rudd edged Parsons and Rusty Wallace for his first win on an oval bigger than one mile (1.6 km).
  • 1989: Darrell Waltrip came back from nearly a lap down to win; on a mid-race yellow Waltrip was slowed by the pace car picking up the wrong leader during pitstops and was trapped barely on the lead lap. The mishap led to the implementation of a rule closing pit road when the yellow comes out; the rule was designed to stop cars from pitting before taking the yellow, which was blamed for scoring mistakes in the days of manual lap scoring.
  • 1992: Bill Elliott won in unlikely fashion as a yellow trapped the entire field behind him a lap down during green flag stops in the final 30 laps.
  • 1995: Jeff Gordon posted his second win of 1995 on his way to his first title.
  • 1997: Dale Jarrett dominated in a race where Steve Grissom tore open a concrete wall, flipped over, and his fuel cell hit the outside wall and erupted in flame.
  • 1998: Bobby Labonte took the win in a race delayed to Monday by rain and in a weekend that saw numerous driver injuries, notably Mike Skinner and Derrike Cope.
  • 2000: Dale Earnhardt edged Labonte by inches after Skinner dominated the race but blew up.
  • 2001: Kevin Harvick edged Gordon by inches in his first win for RCR after Dale Earnhardt's death. Although he was assigned a different number, Harvick used the same car and team Earnhardt won with the previous year.
  • 2002: Tony Stewart posted his first 500-mile (800 km) win.
  • 2005: Carl Edwards slithered past Jimmie Johnson on the final lap.
  • 2006: Bill Lester becomes the first African-American driver to race in a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event since Willy T. Ribbs in 1986. Kasey Kahne would later on win this race and becomes the first of many wins for Kasey Kahne in 2006.
  • 2007: It was the last race that the "old" racecar was run consecutively. The Car Of Tomorrow would debut next week at Bristol. Also it was Mark Martins's last consecutive race that he had participated in since 1991.
  • 2008: Kyle Busch would win Toyota's first win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It was the first time a foreign auto maker won since Jaguar in 1954. It was also Kyles first win under the Joe Gibbs Racing banner.
  • 2009: Kurt Busch dominated the race after a pit crew mistake by one of Marcos Ambrose's crewman trapped most of the cars that could challenge him a lap down.
  • 2010: A scary flight by Brad Keselowski was a top story; Keselowski was spun out by the lapped car of Carl Edwards and nearly struck the fencing past the start-finish line in the final laps. This was also the last spring race at Atlanta.

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