1982 Goody's Sportsman 300 (partially found footage of NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series race; 1982)

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Dale Earnhardt edges out Jody Ridley to win.

Status: Partially Found

The 1982 Goody's Sportsman 300 was the inaugural race of the NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series, now known as the Xfinity Series. Occurring on 13th February at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Dale Earnhardt, edging out fellow Pontiac driver Jody Ridley.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1982 Goody's Sportsman 300 kickstarted the NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series.[1] The Series was formed when Anheuser-Busch struck a deal with NASCAR to sponsor a series.[2] NASCAR in turn decided to merge the regional Sportsman series into a national touring series.[2] In modern times, it is known as the Xfinity Series,[3] providing a proving ground for up and comping drivers seeking to compete in the Cup Series, as well as feeder races for it.[2] The race itself, which lasted 300 miles,[4] has ties to the modern Beef. It's What's for Dinner. 300, having dropped the Goody's title from 1997 onwards.[5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Mike Porter winning the pole position in a Pontiac with a speed of 184.569 mph.[4] Directly behind him were fellow Pontiac drivers Geoffrey Bodine and Jody Ridley, in second and third respectively.[4] Dale Earnhardt qualified fifth out of 34 competitors,[4] having come off an unsuccessful 1980 Winston Cup Series campaign where he won no races or pole positions.[6][7] This may have impacted his confidence before the event, stating during preparations for the race, "I don't care who it is. When you've been accustomed to winning-winning big-and suddenly you're not anymore, it's going to make you feel down. That's human nature. It worries you and bothers you and gnaws at you inside."[6]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1982 Goody's Sportsman 300 commenced on 13th February.[4] Of this 120-lap, Earnhardt led the most at 52, with his main competition late in the race being Ridley.[7][1][4] For the final 15 laps, Earnhardt and Ridley duelled for the first position, with The Intimidator remaining in front.[7][1] On the final lap, Ridley made a few attempts to pass Earnhardt, but was thwarted because slower cars blocked the lower portion of the speedway, preventing him from making a substantial move.[7][1] Earnhardt therefore claimed victory and $14,740 in prize money.[7][1][4] Sam Ard finished third in an Oldsmobile;[4] he was reported as having a highlight-filled race, including missing his pit stop three times, and bashing into Mark Beard's Pontiac in the fourth attempt.[7][1]

Post-race, Earnhardt explained that the traffic was actually part of his game plan, stating "With about five laps to go, I started thinking about the last lap and what Jody would try to do. I realized I could probably use the traffic if I could time it right." This ultimately paid off for Earnhardt, with him noting "And I was backing off, trying to time the traffic. So we were both backing off. But the traffic did come in handy; Jody just didn't have anywhere to go to get around me."[7]

Availability[edit | edit source]

As noted in nascarman History's Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts, 2-and-a-half hours of highlights were televised by the USA Network on 27th March 1982, under the title of "Auto Racing: Sportsman 300". Interestingly, this was not the first Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series to be televised, as NASCAR on TV claims that the subsequent 1982 Eastern 150 was broadcast on ESPN on 3rd March 1982.[8] The USA Network broadcast has yet to resurface, but a clip of the last lap was included as part of a January 1983 interview with Jack Ingram, which was uploaded to YouTube on 13th December 2020 by Calhoun98. Photos and newspaper clippings of the race are also publicly viewable.[1]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Footage of the last lap of the race.
Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts detailing the USA Network broadcast of the race (3:53-4:28).

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]