NASCAR's Winston West Series raced at Phoenix on November 28, 1982. The Cup season concluded at [ Riverside a week earlier ] with a Tim Richmond victory and Darrell Waltrip's 2nd championship. A few of the Cup regulars - Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett, Joe Ruttman and King Richard - made the side trip to Phoenix for the Coors 250 as everyone else headed for home.
In his first race with the Ron Benfield, Levi Garrett team, Joe Ruttman put his Buddy Parrott-crewed #8 Buick on the pole. Ruttman started 1982 with Jim Stacy's team, later moved to Bob Rahilly and Butch Mock's Rahmoc team, and finished the season at Riverside in a second Harry Ranier car - an obvious effort to help Allison in his hopes to win the championship over Allison. For 1983, he was moving to the Levi Garrett team so I guess all parties decided to get a jump start on the relationship. The normal team number was 98. But driver John Kieper was already entered with #98 so the Benfield team likely just peeled the "9" from Rut's ride.
Bonnett qualified on the front row with Ruttman. Neil raced a #75 Mountain Dew Buick - a car that was likely sourced from and matched to Winston West regular Bill Schmitt's #73 Mountain Dew Buick. Allison and Canadian Roy Smith made up the 2nd row. Petty and Jim Reich timed 5th and 6th.
At the green, pole winner Ruttman jumped out front and paced the field for the first 18 laps. He led another 14-lap stint and ended up with a nice 4th place finish in the race. Except for a handful of laps led by others, the remainder of the 156-lap, 250-kilometer race was led by Allison and Bonnett. After starting 5th, Petty's engine failed and he was done at lap 42. Having won the race in 3 of the previous 4 years, Ol' Blue had to settle for 32nd in the 35-car field in 1982.
I found a small set of neat photos from the race by Jerry Pillarelli on PBase.
Neil Bonnett sporting the race sponsor's name on his hat.
King Richard with a dead reptile native to the Phoenix area on his hat.
The Petty STP 43 Pontiac on track before it lost an engine.
Joe Ruttman tangled with #82 Summer McKnight and another, unidentifiable driver - yet he avoided too much damage and soldiered on his 4th place finish.
Long-time racer Ron Esau making a pit stop.
Bobby Allison on his way to the win. I find it interesting Bobby raced a Chevy Monte Carlo in this race because he drove a Pontiac LeMans in the Riverside race - as did Ruttman as Allison's DiGard "teammate" in the race. Hauling multiple cars to the west coast seems a little out of character for that era.
One of more interesting looking cars at Phoenix might resonate with Dave Fulton. Driver Randy Olson made his debut in a prominent NASCAR series in a blue-and-yellow #3 Pontiac Grand Prix. From what I can tell, he bought the car from Richard Childress Racing and raced it pretty much "as is" with the notable exception of removing the Wrangler decals. Olson started 11 Winston West races beginning with the 82 Phoenix event. That's pretty much it - no Busch, Cup or even SuperTruck starts later on. The kid started 33rd and hung it there to finish 12th. Not a bad debut.
Source: StreetDreamer83 at Historical Stock Car Racing Forum
StreetDreamer also shared this photo of Bobby and Judy Allison in victory lane.
The race winner Bobby Allison and Winston West champion Roy Smith (from David Allio archives)
Race report from Schenectady Gazette
|Fin||Driver||Sponsor / Owner||Car|
|1||Bobby Allison||Gatorade (DiGard)||Chevrolet|
|2||Neil Bonnett||Mountain Dew||Buick|
|3||Hershel McGriff||Matson Graphics (Gary Smith)||Buick|
|4||Joe Ruttman||Levi Garrett Chewing Tobacco||Buick|
|5||Jim Robinson||Hammer Security (Lois Williams)||Oldsmobile|
|6||Roy Smith||J.R. Edgett Excavating (John Edgett)||Buick|
|7||Bill Schmitt||Mountain Dew (Bill Schmitt)||Buick|
|8||John Kieper||Wholesale Truck Parts (John Kieper)||Oldsmobile|
|9||Rick McCray||Coors / Mark C. Bloome (Rick McCray)||Pontiac|
|10||Don Waterman||St. John's Auto Parts (Don Waterman)||Buick|
|11||Clark Dwyer||Hamby Racing||Pontiac|
|12||Randy Olson||RAO Construction (Rich Olson)||Pontiac|
|13||Bob Kennedy||Erlich Motors (Phil Kord)||Chevrolet|
|14||Derrike Cope||Jefferson Racing (George Jefferson)||Ford|
|15||Trevor Boys||Buddie Boys Racing (Trevor Boys)||Pontiac|
|16||Glenn Francis||American Cam Grinding (Trent Francis)||Pontiac|
|17||Ron Esau||Lee's Iron / Ash Engines (Jack Lee)||Buick|
|18||Sumner McKnight||Aero Wash (Sumner McKnight)||Buick|
|19||Steve Pfeifer||KRAK Radio||Pontiac|
|20||Jim Reich||Ivan Baldwin Engineering (Ivan Baldwin)||Chevrolet|
|21||John Krebs||Fred Correa, D.D.S. (Fred Correa)||Pontiac|
|22||Jim Bown||Rose City Auto Wrecking (Dick Bown)||Buick|
|23||Ron Eaton||Bondo Auto Products (Ron Eaton)||Buick|
|24||Pat Mintey||Grimes & Son Grading (Pat Mintey)||Chevrolet|
|25||Earle Canavan||Wyandotte / JOB||Buick|
|26||Steve Kosiski||Palatine Auto Parts||Buick|
|27||Kevin Terris||West Coast RV||Buick|
|28||Randy Becker||Herborn's Brake Serivce (Robert Palmer)||Chrysler|
|29||Harry Goularte||Go-En Racing (Harry Goularte)||Buick|
|30||Gene Thonesen||Thonesen Racing (Gene Thonesen)||Buick|
|31||Mark Stahl||Mark Stahl Race Prep (Mark Stahl)||Ford|
|33||Clive Skilton||Bauer Buick||Buick|
|34||Al Vanderbyl||Don Walters Construction||Buick|
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
updated by @tmc-chase: 11/27/17 01:25:42PM