Brooklyn, Mich. – In a season in which no NASCAR driver has dominated the winner’s circle, Bill Elliott has set a record for domination.
Elliott established a Winston Cup record for most consecutive victories on one super-speedway Sunday afternoon by winning the $450,000 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan International Speedway. It was his fourth straight triumph on the two-mile oval.
“Anytime you set a record it’s important to you” Elliott said. “I knew when I went out I had a chance.”
The record was especially meaningful to Elliott’s because Harry Melling, the owner of Elliott’s Ford Thunderbird, lives in nearby Jackson.
“Here you might put in a little extra effort because Harry lives close, but we put a lot of effort into every race,” Elliott said. “I’ve won five out of six here, and that really means a lot.”
Elliott’s whose team pocketed $55,950 for the victory, said the may have been the easiest of his four consecutive MIS triumphs.
“The car ran so good, it made it easier,” he said. “I really made them run my race. That’s the first time that’s happened here. Last time here, I had to run their race.”
The 30-year old redhead from Dawsonville, GA., stayed well ahead in a six-lap sprint at the end and finished the race with an average speed of 135.45 mph. Forth-one cars had started the race, and four finished all 200 laps.
Tim Richmond finished 1.34 seconds behind Elliott with Darrell Waltrip third and Geoff Bodine fourth. Pole sitter Benny Parsons finished 26th.
Elliott grabbed the lead for good on lap 140 and held as much as a 10 second lead on the field before an accident in the second turn of lap 171 brought the caution flag out and bunched the field.
Kyle Petty hit the wall, bringing out the caution flag. The son of Richard Petty was not injured seriously.
The race restarted on lap 186. Parsons in second place behind Elliott, hit the wall in the second turn of the first lap after the restart. Parsons was shaken up, but treated and released at the infield care center.
The yellow flag came out again, but no until after Elliott and Richmond staged a furious chase for the start-finish line. Richmond was at the end of the lead lap just ahead of Elliott when Parsons’ accident occurred.
Richmond won the one-lap race to make up nearly one full lap during the caution period.
When the race restarted on lap 195, only Elliott, Waltrip, Bodine and Richmond were on the lead lap. Elliott’s lead never was threatened on the six-lap dash to the finish.
Elliott fourth straight victory at MIS broke a tie for most consecutive victories on one superspeedway he had shared with David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Buddy Baker and Dan Gurney.
(Courtesy of Associated Press and Citizen Times)