November 28, 1982 - Bobby Allison Wins Out West

TMC Chase
7 years ago
4,029 posts

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
32 Richard Petty STP Pontiac
33 Clive Skilton Bauer Buick Buick
34 Al Vanderbyl Don Walters Construction Buick
35 Dennis DeVea UNO Buick

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 11/27/17 01:25:42PM
Tim Leeming
7 years ago
3,119 posts

Excellent post Chase!!!! Thanks for finding something racey to post today. Happy Thanksgiving.

Dave Fulton
7 years ago
9,132 posts

Chase, I'd never seen the Randy Olson car before. Thanks. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Leon Phillips
7 years ago
626 posts

Great story thanks

TMC Chase
3 years ago
4,029 posts

1982 Phoenix Coors 250 program ebay.jpg

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
George Andrews
2 years ago
2 posts

 Nice write - up, however I feel a few corrections may be in order.  1) Joe Ruttman's ride at the November, 1982 Riverside race was in the primary ( and only ) Ranier Racing entry. Recall that halfway through the 1982 NASCAR Cup season Buddy Baker had replaced Benny Parsons in the Ranier Racing # 28 Pontiac. At seasons' end Ranier announced the deal with Cale Yarborough as driver for 1983 & '84. Buddy Baker, not at all a fan of road racing, gave up the ride early and Ranier hired Joe Ruttman for Riverside, a track he had run well at in the past. Ruttman even brought his own special " Riverside - only " transmission for the car, though it failed him in the event. This Ranier Racing Pontiac Lemans was brand new, also built for " Riverside - only " with many items moved to the right side of the car for better weight distribution. This would be the only time this Riverside - Only Pontiac Lemans was run by Ranier Racing: as the team cut back to a limited schedule for Cale in 1983 through 1985 w/o Riverside the LeMans was sold to the new Blue Max Racing team for driver Tim Richmond.

 2) The Joe Ruttman / Levi Garrett car having to change their car number from # 98 to #8 was due to a NASCAR rule that gave car number priority to Winston West teams at Stand - Alone West races; Johnny Keiper had used car # 98 for many years as a West Series driver and owner. This car number deal was reversed when West teams ran in combination Cup / West races ( Ontario, Riverside, Phoenix, Sears Point ); in these events car number preference was given to Cup teams and the West teams had to change their number ( I.E. -- Keiper would often use # 93 for these events ).

 3) Bobby Allison's Chevy Monte Carlo used at the Phoenix West race in November was likely DiGard's short track car, quite possibly the same car he ran in the June, 1982 Riverside Cup race. It was normal for teams battling for the Cup Championship to bring a back - up car out to Riverside " Just - in - Case ", as the road course was hard on equipment. Also, sometimes Cup teams would bring slightly used cars out West in hopes of selling them to WW teams. BTW, The LeMans Bobby raced at Riverside in November, 1982 was only run once before -- at TALLADEGA !!!

 4) I don't recall Joe Ruttman being Bobby Allison's " teammate ", at Phoenix or any other NASCAR race.

updated by @george-andrews: 01/18/20 05:20:38AM
TMC Chase
2 years ago
4,029 posts

George - You are 100% spot-on about my swing-and-a-miss Ruttman / Allison connection. Can't believe that obvious error has languished here for 5+ years. I have no idea why I had Allison in a Ranier car in 1982 vs DiGard. Pretty dang embarrassing.

Good trivia re: 98 vs 8 for Ruttman at Phoenix too.

Keep on posting - new info and corrections to my existing posts. Ha.

Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
George Andrews
2 months ago
2 posts

 The other car involved in the Joe Ruttman / Sumner McKnight incident was Ron Eaton's # 7 Buick. A close look reveals his BONDO sponsorship on the hood & driver's door. Looks like he was his sponsor's best customer that day !