1982 Winston Western 500 (lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; existence unconfirmed; 1982)

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1982winstonwestern5001.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

The 1982 Winston Western 500 was the final race of the 1982 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 21st November at the Riverside International Raceway, the race would ultimately be won by Tim Richmond in a Buick, after having led 92 of the 119 laps. It also saw Buick's Darrell Waltrip win his second consecutive Cup Series title following rival and Pontiac driver Bobby Allison's retirement during the race. Additionally, it is claimed this was the first race to be televised by WTBS.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1982 Winston Western 500 was the 22nd running of the event, with the race lasting 500km or about 311.780 miles as the race utilised the metric system since 1976.[1][2] It was one of two 1982 Winston Cup races at Riverside International Raceway, the other being the Budweiser 400,[3] which occurred on 13th June and was won by Tim Richmond.[4] The annual race ran until 1987, before it was dropped off the Cup Series schedule a year later.[5] The raceway would later be dropped completely off the Winston Cup schedule following the 1988 Budweiser 400 as the land the raceway was on was being sold off so that housing and a shopping mall could be established on it.[6]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Darrell Waltrip winning the pole position with a speed of 114.995 mph.[1] Directly behind him was title rival Bobby Allison, with the latter trailing Waltrip by 22 points heading into the final race.[7][1] If he were to win the race, Allison would have required Waltrip to finish fifth or lower to become champion.[1] Lining up third was Pontiac's Joe Ruttman, with Richmond qualifying fourth out of 42 competitors and aiming to achieve the Riverside double after having won the Budweiser 400 earlier in the year.[1][4]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1982 Winston Western 500 commenced on 21st November.[1] Waltrip shot into the lead on the first lap, leading the first four laps until Alison took over for the next four.[1] Richmond remained in contention however, taking the lead on lap 9 and holding onto it until lap 14.[1] The race then briefly had an open competition for the lead with four changes lasting fewer than five laps, before Richmond began to control the early stages, leading for 25 consecutive laps from lap 21.[1] Allison briefly interrupted proceedings on lap 46, but Richmond moved back into the first position two laps later to lead another 24.[1]

Waltrip then moved into the first position on lap 72, before Buick's Harry Gant overtook him on lap 76. But Richmond remained fully in control of the race, succeeding in overtaking Gant on lap 81. Aside from a brief interruption by Ford's Neil Bonnett on lap 97, Richmond defended the first position for the remainder of the race, claiming victory with a 7-second margin and $24,730 in prize money.[1] Pontiac's Ricky Rudd finished second; Waltrip finished third, claiming his second consecutive title and what would be his second of three championships,[8] after Allison retired after 111 laps following an engine failure, being classified in 16th.[1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The race is listed as one of two 1982 Winston Cup Series events to have been televised but not be publicly available, alongside the 1982 CRC Chemicals 500.[9] According to NASCAR on TV, the race was reportedly broadcast on WTBS, which it states would be the first race to be broadcast on the network.[10] However, it also claims that no evidence the broadcast exists.[10] Thus, no footage is currently available, although the chances of the footage existing rises due to how the race is a title decider.[1] Photos of the event are also publicly available.[11]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]