#1 Winston Western 500
Bill Elliott breaks through as Bobby Allison seizes 1983 title
It was a delicious, double-dip of a stock car racing day: a buy-one, get-one-free deal for NASCAR fans attending the Winston Western 500 on Nov. 20, 1983, at Riverside Raceway in California. Two immensely popular drivers shared the cheers, brightening an otherwise rainy, gloomy afternoon in the desert. Bobby Allison finally won a season-long championship that had eluded him for two decades. And Bill Elliott at last triumphed in a race after coming ever-so-close in finishing second eight times. It was difficult to determine which of the two was most delighted and grinning widest. Call it a tie. First, the Elliott story from 27 years ago. Bill had broken into the big-time Winston Cup Series in the mid-1970s out of the North Georgia mountains as a lanky 21-year-old with a shock of wild red hair and a slow-as-molasses drawl. Not surprisingly, fans took to him almost immediately, likening him to the lovable Mark Twain character, Huckleberry Finn. For seven seasons Elliott and his family oriented team, led by his brothers Ernie and Dan, showed up at the bigger races. Gradually, they grew competitive, and teased at victory, but checkered flags never came.