1983 Goody's Sportsman 300 (partially found footage of NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series race; 1983)

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1983goodys3001.jpg

Program for the 1983 Daytona 500, which also promoted the 1983 Goody's Sportsman 300.

Status: Partially Found

The 1983 Goody's Sportsman 300 was the inaugural race of the 1983 NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series. Occurring on 19th February at the Daytona International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Darrell Waltrip, after he fended off fellow Pontiac driver Neil Bonnett via harnessing the presence of Dale Earnhardt's Pontiac.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1983 Goody's Sportsman 300 was the second running of the race, with the annual event typically lasting 300 miles.[1] The only 1983 NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series race to take place at Daytona International Speedway,[2] the race has ties to the modern Beef. It's What's for Dinner. 300, having dropped the Goody's title from 1997 onwards.[3]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Sam Ard winning the pole position in an Oldsmobile.[4][1] Directly behind him was Pontiac's Joe Ruttman, with Oldsmobile's Morgan Shepherd lining up third.[1][4] Darrell Waltrip qualified fifth out of 40 competitors.[1][4]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1983 Goody's Sportsman 300 commenced on 19th February.[1] Shepherd shot into the lead on the first lap, but was passed by Ruttman on the next.[1] Ard regained the first position on lap 3 however, and was able to maintain it for 22 consecutive laps.[1] Meanwhile, after seven laps, Rodney Howard crashed his Pontiac heavily into the inside wall coming out of Turn 4, resulting in his vehicle flipping multiple times.[5][6][1] The impact forced him to be taken to the Halifax Hospital, where ultimately it was revealed he suffered no broken bones.[5]

When Ard lost the lead to Bobby Allison in a Pontiac, the race for the first position became an open affair, with few of the 22 lead changes lasting ten laps or more.[1] Shepherd however would move into the first position on lap 73, defending it for the longest duration of the race at 23 laps, dropping it to Waltrip on lap 96.[1] The end of the race was a battle between Waltrip, Pontiac's Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnett, Pontiac's Phil Parsons, and Shepherd.[5] On the second-to-last lap, Waltrip passed Parsons for the first position, but faced intense pressure from Bodine.[5] On Turn 3 of the final lap, Bonnett attempted a move on Waltrip, dropping low to do so.[5] However, this would be thwarted by Earnhardt, whose Pontiac was seven laps down from the leaders because of a broken fan blade.[5][4] Instead of following Bonnett, he moved to a higher position and dropped behind Waltrip as the leaders negotiated Turns 3 and 4.[5][4] Earnhardt's presence would provide a boost for Waltrip, enabling him to fend off Bodine, Bonnett, and Parsons to claim victory and $16,100 in prize money.[5][4][1] Bodine finished second a car length behind, with Bonnett taking third, Parsons fourth, and Shepherd fifth after a close finish.[5][1]

Post-race, Waltrip revealed that his overtake of Parsons was actually a tactical mistake, but reckoned it ultimately contributed to him winning. He stated "I guess my mind just went blank. I thought the next-to-last lap was the last lap. So I decided to pass Parsons in the third turn of the next-to-last lap. Thank goodness Neil Bonnett followed me. In hindsight it probably won the race for me, because the rest of those guys sitting back there were probably very surprised at what I did. It probably messed up their thinking. Instead of being able to carry out their plans for the last lap, they had to go to something else."[5]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to nascarman History's Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts, the race received coverage from the USA Network, as the previous event did. However, this broadcast has yet to resurface, although footage of Howard's accident is publicly viewable. Photos and newspaper clippings of the event can also be accessed.[4][6]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Footage of Rodney Howard's crash.
Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts detailing the USA Network broadcast of the 1982-1984 Goody's Sportsman 300 races (3:53-4:28).


Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]