1985 Twin 125s (lost footage of NASCAR Daytona 500 qualifying races; existence unconfirmed; 1985)

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Bill Elliott and his Ford Thunderbird.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

The 1985 Twin 125s are two races at the Daytona National Speedway that served as qualifying events for the 1985 Daytona 500. Both occurred on 14th February, where the first race was won by Bill Elliott in a Ford, while Cale Yarborough also driving a Ford was victorious in the second. According to reports, Elliot's victory was one of the most dominant qualifier victories in NASCAR history, and he would go on to win that year's Daytona 500.


The Twin 125s are unique races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. They consist of two qualifying heats that determine the majority of the 40 competitors for the Daytona 500.[1] It would also allow for the racers to analyse how their vehicles performed during the heats and modify them accordingly for the main event.[2] Among those competing was Yarborough, who was seeking to defend his Daytona 500 title. Prior to the races, two drivers had already qualified for the Daytona 500.[3] Elliot won the pole position by setting a stock-car speed record of 205.114 m.p.h.,[3] while Yarborough would start second.[4]

The Races

In the first Twin 125s race, Elliott was victorious and claimed $22,000 in prize money, ahead of the Chevrolets of Darrell Waltrip and Benny Parsons in second and third respectively.[5] The Los Angeles Times reported on the dominance of Elliot's win. Leading 48 of the 50 laps, he finished more than two miles ahead of Darrell Waltrip, with a 37-second margin that became the widest victory in Twin 125s history. The report speculated that had there been a few more laps, Elliott could have also lapped Waltrip. The performance amazed most of Elliot's fellow competitors. Elliot himself stated that he aimed to run the car as hard as possible to prepare for the Sunday race, potentially racing against defending Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, who dropped out of race 1 after leading on lap 8 with engine issues.[3]

For race 2, Yarborough followed David Pearson's Chevrolet for the last 24 laps, before overtaking on the final lap after utilising his rival's draft, thus claiming the $22,000.[6] Kyle Petty finished third in a Ford. The race featured two cautions, including a spin by Dick Skillen on lap 22, while a five-car accident Clark Dwyer, Ken Ragan, Randy LaJoie, Trevor Boys and Dean Roper meant six laps were dedicated to clearing the wreckage.[3] Yarborough dominated the early stages of the race too, and stated that he had planned to pass Pearson earlier, but decided to make an early move on the final lap with the intent to surprise his opponent. Pearson admitted that he had little chance to defend his lead. Kyle Petty and his father Richard were able to finish third and fourth due to a final turn incident involving Harry Gant and Phil Parsons.[3][6]

With the starters and race order decided, the 1985 Daytona 500 commenced on 17th February. Elliott converted his promising win with a victory at the main event, after having led 136 laps. He became only the third driver in eleven years to have won the Daytona 500 after having achieved victory in a Twin 125s event.[3] He finished ahead of Lake Speed in a Pontiac, and Waltrip. Yarborough retired on lap 62 following engine issues.[4]


According to NASCAR on TV and Racing-Reference, both Twin 125s were allegedly televised on tape delay by CBS.[7][8] Ultimately, whereas footage of many Twin 125s from the 1980s have since publicly resurfaced, the 1985 heats are completely inaccessible as of the present day. However, there is no information on when the 1985 heats were aired, and with NASCAR on TV also placing the races under its "Unconfirmed broadcasts" section,[7] full confirmation that a CBS broadcast occurred has not yet been achieved.

See Also