Racing History Minute - 1981 Winston Western 500 (311.78 miles)

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
01/23/14 09:48:20AM
3,110 posts

January 11, 1981, started as a rainy morning at the Riverside road course but 35,000 excited race fans took the chance and bought tickets anyway. By race time, the showers had abated and the fans were to be treated to the last race for the full size stock cars as NASCAR was going to the small wheel-based cars across the board starting with Daytona the next month. There were some of the smaller cars entered in the Riverside race, but most remained the cars from the previous year.

Darrell Waltrip, in his first ride in the Junior Johnson Buick, snagged the pole with a speed of 114.711. Bobby Allison in the Harry Ranier Chevrolet would start second while third place starting position went to Ricky Rudd in the DiGard Chevrolet vacated by D.W. Terry Labonte would start Billy Hagan's Chevy fourth and Roy Smith would start the Robert (Bob) Beadle Oldsmobile fifth. Roy was a Winston West driver and he excited the west coast fans with the fine qualifying effort but unfortunately he departed the race on lap 25 when the engine quit in the Olds.

D.W. would lead the first three laps but on lap four he took the Junior Johnson Buick for a ride in the dirt and had to pit. Further problems awaited Waltrip on the pit stop as fouled spark plugs had to be changed and that took the Johnson crew more that 1 minute and 45 seconds to complete. By the time Waltrip had endured all his woes, he was 11 laps off the pace and would manage to keep the car on track to finish 17th, still 11 laps behind the winner.

Ricky Rudd, then a young driver from Chesapeake, Virginia, who had started third in the DiGard Chevy, ran strong in the top five for 98 laps before the engine expired. Tim Richmond, the 1980 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, was competing in his first road race but didn't have much chance to show his talent as the D. K. Ulrich Chevy had mechanical problems forcing Tim to park the car on lap 53.

The Petty team, in an effort to exploit NASCAR's Winners Circle Plan, had Kyle Petty driving number 43 and Richard was driving number 42. The object was to get the number 42 on the winners plan where the 43 already occupied a spot, thereby having both Petty entries assured extra money for future events. After, note AFTER the race, NASCAR determined that such a move was not exactly within the scope of the stated intentions of the plan and said "go back to your own number Richard".

After D. W. had his off track experience, Terry Labonte took over first spot. On lap 12 Dave Marcis pushed his own Chevrolet to the front where he would stay for two laps. Labonte got back in front and cruised along in the lead until lap 34 when Richard Childress got an opportunity to lead a couple laps. Neil Bonnett in the Wood Brothers Ford took over onlap36 and he would lead for six laps. The transmission would fail in the famed Ford on lap 66 forcing Bonnett to view the rest of the race from the pits. Childress was back out front from laps 43 to 45 before Richard Petty took over for 3 laps. From lap 50 to lap 104, the lead changed hands several times betwee Bonnett, Bobby Allison, Joe Millikan, Richard Childress, Ricky Rudd and Terry Labonte. On lap 105 of the 119, Bobby Allison moved in front and began to slowly pull away from Terry Labonte, to win by 1.75 seconds.

There were six caution flags for 31 laps which slowed the average race speed to 95.263 mph, which kept the spectators in their seats for 3 hours 18 minutes and 18 seconds. The 1977 Monte Carlo was destined to be the last full size car to win a NASCAR Grand National race.

After the race, Bobby said "I want to put all the effort I can into trying to win the champioinship. To do that, I'm going to cut down my short track (Sportsman) activity". Bobby did give it a good run in the 1981 season but it was not to be for him as he would finish second to D.W. at the end of the year. Not to get ahead of ourselves here but it is incumbent upon us to recognize that Bobby did go on to win a championship just 2 years later.

Finishing order:

1. Bobby Allison, Ranier Racing Chevrolet, winning $24,600.00

2. Terry Labonte, Billy Hagan Chevrolet, winning $19,600.00 (1.73 seconds back)

3. Dale Earnhardt, Rod Osterlund Chevrolet, winning $16,325.00

4. Richard Childress, Childress Chevrolet, winning $8,510.00

5. Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises Chevrolet, winning $4,250.00

TOP FIVE ALL ON LEAD LAP

6. Jim Robinson

7. Jody Ridley

8. Elliott Forbes-Robinson

9. Buddy Arrington

10. Don Waterman

11. James Hylton

12. John Bornerman

13. Joe Millikan

14. Don Whittington

15. Harry Gant

16. Benny Parsons

17. Darrell Waltrip

18. Jimmy Means

19. Ricky Rudd

20. Kyle Petty

21. Bob Bondurant

22. Bill Schmitt

23. J. D. McDuffie

24. Steve Pfeifer

25. John Gunn

26. Rick McCray

27. Neil Bonnett

28. Dave Marcis

29. Tim Richmond

30. Jimmy Insolo

31. Roy Smith

32. Don Puskarich

33. Hershell McGriff

34. Lake Speed

35. Robert Tartaglia

36. Cecil Gordon

Honor the past, embrace the present, dream for the future


updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/23/14 10:52:02AM
3,870 posts

Couple of tweaks Tim.

DW ran the longer wheel-based Monte Carlo at Riverside - as did most of the GM teams including Allison. The 11 was sponsored by Mountain Dew and looked kind of funny when compared to the colors on the 110 inch wheel based Buick Regal he drove the next 2 years. But the Junior Johnson waited until Speedweeks to break out their new car.

Conversely, the Rod Osterlund Wrangler team chose to open the season with the new car. They abandoned the Monte Carlo in favor of a new, shorter Pontiac #2 Grand Prix for Earnhardt.

Bobby's Harry Ranier team had to abandon the trusty Monte like everyone else. Of course, that team's play the next month was to bring a Pontiac LeMans to Daytona - the only one to do so.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 01/10/17 05:03:56PM
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
01/23/14 10:53:40AM
3,110 posts

Thanks, Chase. Guess I needed a couple extra cups of coffee this morning to get everything right. I truly appreciate you setting the record straight.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/23/14 03:07:00PM
9,039 posts

Tim, I need to point out something, too, about Roy Smith's car owner. It wasn't Raymond Beadle, who showed up in 1983 fielding cars for Tim Richmond, Sammy Swindell and Rusty Wallace.

Smith's car owner was Robert Beadle, usually known as Bob Beadle. Bob Beadle was a towering presence in west coast stock car racing and annually staged the Washington 500 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington - a huge event that drew drivers named Earnhardt, Elliott, Allison, Pearson, Marcis, Schrader, Bodine, Marlin, etc.

David Pearson nicknamed Beadle's Monroe, Washington track "The Superspeedway of the West."

I was fortunate that Derrike Cope won Bob Beadle's Washington 500 while I was affiliated with him.

Sadly, Bob Beadle passed in 2007. He helped keep stock car racing going in the western states and was a highly respected individual.

Community Cares Bob Beadle

Bob Beadle, age 73, passed away Sunday August 12, 2007.

Dorothy, his wife of 45 years, was instrumental in his adventure into auto racing. They met at Sunshine Dairy in Ballard and when Bob saw her he was stricken. "I asked her out of course" says Bob. Dorothy may have had some doubts but "She wasn't having anything to do with me paying her way. She agreed to a "Dutch-Treat", no strings attached and took me to the old Sea-Tac Speedway." Bob would go onto say, " I guess I passed the test because we were together from then on." That was when Bob took on racing as one of his main hobbies and later one of his businesses.

Bob started drag racing at the Puyallup Drag Strip when a close friend, Chuck Evans, convinced him to buy a modified from Worth Skinner with urging from Dorothy to race at Sky Valley Speedway in the mid -1960's. Bob continued to race around the Northwest including Skagit Speedway, Evergreen, Elma, Port Angles, Yakima and the brand new Tri-City Raceway where he christened the track with a tremendous wreck coming out of turn 4. Losing a right front wheel on his modified racecar, he hurdled full throttle into the railroad ties at the end sending one right through the modified barely missing him. The accident slowed his career with a lot of torn muscles.

Bob then turned to help to promote and announce at Sky Valley Race Track partnering up with Marv Larson. Bob continued to race at Skagit Speedway on Friday nights.

Bob helped to bring in super star California racer, Jimmy Gordon, to begin a two-day dirt championship between Sky Valley and Skagit Speedway attracting the best northwest open wheel drivers. This event was the ceremonial start of the annual Dirt Cup.

With his experience at Sky Valley he came together with Reg Midgley from Victoria BC to start an open wheel series called the International Drivers Challenge Series (IDC). The series included both asphalt and dirt tracks with seven races in ten days drawing the top open wheel drivers including Roy Smith.

Bob and Reg used the same format and started a stock car series and that is when his interest in NASCAR racing began. Bob became a car owner with Roy Smith driving. After winning many open competition races and NASCAR sanctioned races, Bob partnered in the Vice President position with Dick Midgley to run what was then known as the Winston West Grand National Series. With Roy Smith at the helm Bob went on to purchase his own team winning multiple Grand National Championships as a car owner.

During the period of 1978 Bob, with brother John, Terry Forsyth and Reg Midgley won the lease at Evergreen Speedway with his son Mickey helping with the operations. In 1980 Bob arranged for Cup superstar David Pearson to race at Evergreen. Pearson quipped that Evergreen was the "Super Speedway of the West" and the phrase is still used today. 1985 became a catalyst year for Bob, John and Mickey negotiating with Dennis Huth and Brian France to help with the beginning of NASCAR'S Northwest Tour. Evergreen sanctioned as a NASCAR Weekly Series Track and hosted the first ever NASCAR Northwest Tour race. By the time the tour ended in 2006, Evergreen Speedway had hosted more Tour races than any other track in the Northwest.

Bob's biggest achievement was to announce with Brian France that Evergreen Speedway would be holding the first ever NASCAR 500 lap race in the Northwest. The first Washington 500 was in 1985 and a huge success being won by Derrike Cope who went on to win the Daytona 500. After the first year of the Washington 500, Motorcraft became the sponsor.

Bill Elliott became the first Cup driver to participate in the Washington 500 winning it in 1987 starting a series of Cup drivers to participate in the race including; Junior Johnson's Dream Team of Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin, and Geoff Bodine. Geoff Bodine won in the now famous Bud Light car, winning the race from the back after a little miscommunication, starting with the NASCAR Officials. Other Cup drivers participating would include Davey Allison, Dave Marcus, and Kenny Schrader. Chad Little and Derrick Cope started their careers in the Northwest and went on to be very successful cup drivers. Bob also made the race the richest race on the West Coast by announcing a $50,000.00 purse to win, which at that time was more than the Winston Cup race at Phoenix.

Bob became a legend in the auto racing industry spanning over 50 years. He was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2003. Bob was a kind-hearted soul whose life revolved around youth, sports, family and friends. A celebration of Bobs life will be held Friday August 24th 1:30pm at the Mill Creek Country Club. Remembrances may be made to Seattle Junior Hockey or a charity of your choice.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/23/14 03:34:21PM
9,039 posts

Robert (Bob) Beadle's Canadian driver, Roy Smith, a four-time NASCAR Winston West Series champion, tragically drowned when a commercial fishing trawler sank off northern Vancouver Island on February 26, 2004. Smith was one of several victims of the sinking.

Roy Smith

David Cox photo as posted at Randy Ayers Modeling site

The AIRCRAFT STANDARDS sponsorship on the Bob Beadle / Roy Smith 11w cars was Bob's own company. The crew chief on the car, Jackie Johnson, later went to work for George Jefferson then relocated back to his South Carolina birthplace as our crew chief for Derrike Cope's 1986 Winston Cup rookie effort. Jackie had previously worked with Bud Moore and James Hylton before going out west to work with Roy Smith.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/23/14 04:17:48PM
9,039 posts

The new Earnhardt / Osterlund Pontiac at this January 1981 Riverside race was the first time Wrangler had its corporate blue & yellow colors on the Earnhardt car. In the final 1980 race at Ontario, we simply had our name on the already blue & yellow Chevy Osterlund had used with Mike Curb sponsorship and used the white #2 already on the car.

Note in the two David Cox photos above (top-January 1981/ bottom- June 1981), that when we returned to Riverside in June 1981, we'd added a black border around the numbers and Wrangler sponsor name to make them more readable from the grandstands on the #2 Pontiac.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/23/14 04:56:40PM
9,039 posts

For those trying to picture the Riverside layout and terrain, here is a 1982 aerial photo by a gentleman named Todd as posted at the site www.tamsoldracecarsite.net:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Charles Ray Stocks
@charles-ray-stocks
01/23/14 08:04:14PM
222 posts

thanks guys this is a very interesting post and informative as well keep up the good work

Andy DeNardi
@andy-denardi
01/23/14 08:51:40PM
365 posts

Look at all that open land. Beats me why they thought that a shopping mall had to go right there. I hate it when people move in next to a race track and then campaign to get rid of it because it's too loud.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/23/14 10:48:03PM
3,870 posts

Race program from Motor Racing Programme Covers

Promo of Richard and Kyle swapping rides.

Richard in Kyle's 42 - Mike Moore

Kyle in Richard's 43 - Andy Towler

Former Petty employee/driver and 1979 runner-up for ROTY - Joe Millikan - in the Rahmoc Monte. From collection of ... hey, that's one I up'd!

Bobby Allison's good looking Ranier Monte Carlo - Ray Lamm




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 01/10/17 05:04:41PM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/23/14 11:41:23PM
3,870 posts

Victory Lane from Gadsden Times

Allison's win fell on the same day CBS went to press with the rumor that Joe Gibbs would be hired as the coach of Washington Redskins. Gibbs - who was offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers - would have a bit of success as the Redskins coach and in later years as a NASCAR team owner. From Daytona Beach Morning Journal.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
01/23/14 11:49:20PM
3,110 posts

Sorry about that Dave. Today was evidently not a good day for my work.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/23/14 11:57:14PM
3,870 posts

Ha! Even a rough day at the keyboard is a great day for RR Tim. Keep 'em coming, and we'll keep a'editing. Hash tag: accountability. LOL




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/24/14 08:22:39AM
9,039 posts

What Chase said.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
01/24/14 08:47:15AM
3,110 posts

IMPORTANT NOTE TO READERS: There is a post here from Dave Fulton correcting my error in naming Raymond Beadle when, in fact, the correct person was Robert (Bob) Beadle. I have gone into the body of the History Minute to correct that error. I make this note so when you read Dave's post and question his response that each of you will know Dave was correct and I sincerely appreciate his editing of what I write. No excuses from here, I messed it up but with folks like Dave and Chase you all should know it will be right at some point. Again, Dave, thank you.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
01/24/14 05:44:07PM
9,039 posts

Thank you, Tim, for the great series of Riverside race recaps you have authored for us.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Cody Dinsmore
@cody-dinsmore
01/24/14 10:05:23PM
589 posts

Very nice history on this race!

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/10/16 01:20:45PM
3,870 posts

Joe Ruttman won the preliminary Warner Hodgdon 300 Grand American race from the pole position on Saturday, January 10. Click article to open larger version in separate tab.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/10/16 01:34:37PM
3,870 posts




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
01/10/17 05:05:48PM
3,870 posts

Bump




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.