1983 Mason-Dixon 500 (lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1983)

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Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1983 Mason-Dixon 500 was the 10th race of the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 15th May at the Dover Downs International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Bobby Allison in a Buick, following a duel with Chevrolet driver Darrell Waltrip.


The 1983 Mason-Dixon 500 was the 15th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting around 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1983 Winston Cup races at Dover Downs International Speedway, the other being the Budweiser 500,[2] which occurred on 18th September and was won by Bobby Allison.[3] The race also has ties to the modern DuraMAX Drydene 400, having dropped the Mason-Dixon title from 1984 and being reduced to 400 miles since 1998.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Joe Ruttman winning the pole position in a Buick with a record speed of 139.616 mph.[5][1] This proved emotional as The New York Times reported that Ruttman's father had died from a heart attack a day prior.[5] Directly behind Ruttman was Chevrolet's Ricky Rudd, with Pontiac's Tim Richmond lining up third.[1] Darrell Waltrip qualified fourth, while Bobby Allison lined up 10th out of 36 competitors.[1] Allison was seeking to tie the record number of wins at Dover, having won five previously, including the previous year's Mason-Dixon 500.[6]

The Race

With the starting order decided, the 1983 Mason-Dixon 500 commenced on 15th May.[1] Ruttman maintained his lead at the start, holding onto it for 49 laps before Richard Petty in a Pontiac briefly led on lap 50.[1] Not long afterwards, Allison began controlling the early stages, where with the exception of a few brief interruptions from Pontiac's Kyle Petty, Buick's Morgan Shepard, Ford's Dale Earnhardt, dominated the race up until lap 190.[1] From there, Waltrip took control from lap 190 to 243, his lead ended by Ruttman.[1] Earnhardt also proved to be in contention, leading from laps 248 to 273, before dropping it to Ford's Bill Elliott, who was then overtaken by Waltrip on lap 275.[1] Waltrip again controlled proceedings, leading for 77 consecutive laps.[1]

This stint was ended by Ruttman on lap 352, but Waltrip quickly moved back into the first position a lap later.[1] However, Allison drove back into contention, ultimately overtaking Waltrip on lap 361 and leading for 21 laps.[1] A few more overtakes between the pair occurred, before Allison controlled proceedings from laps 413 to 471.[1] This was disrupted however when Allison was forced to make a late pit stop, putting Waltrip ahead on lap 472.[7][1] Allison made a comeback however, overtaking Waltrip on lap 478, and while Waltrip moved back into the first position on lap 480, Allison returned to the first position again.[1] According to The New York Times, Allison also moved back in front on lap 490, with Waltrip still challenging for the next seven laps.[7] Ultimately, Allison was still ahead when the final caution occurred due to thunderstorms, which still was in effect on the last lap.[7][1] Thus, Allison claimed his sixth victory at Dover and $28,500 in prize money.[6][7][1] Waltrip finished second, with Ruttman a lap down in third.[1][7] Post-race, The New York Times reported that tragedy occurred when lightning strikes at the speedway killed two spectators and critically injured another.[7]


According to NASCAR on TV, one hour of highlights were televised by Mizlou on 21st May 1983.[8] However, this broadcast has yet to resurface, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available.

See Also