1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series (Start Your Engines!)

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The 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season was the 39th season of professional stock car racing in the United States and the 16th modern-era cup series. The season began on February 8 and ended on November 22. This season was marred by the death of driver Charlie Rudolph at the Winston 500.

Team Changes

After two championships together in 1981 and 1982, Darrell Waltrip decided to move from the No. 11 Junior Johnson Chevrolet to the new No. 17 Chevrolet, a third full-time Hendrick Motorsports team.

A famous quote stemmed from this move, which crew chief Jeff Hammond describes in his book Real Men Work In the Pits went like this:

"I finally got me a thoroughbred." – Darrell Waltrip, referring to his new ride.

"I don't know about any thoroughbred. I do know we had a jackass around here who recently left." – Junior Johnson

The rest of "silly season" looked like this among full-time teams: Terry Labonte left the No. 44 Piedmont Oldsmobile owned by Billy Hagan to replace Waltrip in the No. 11. Johnson decided to disband the No. 12 Budweiser team and let go driver Neil Bonnett, who moved to the No. 75 Pontiac. Morgan Shepherd vacated the No. 75 in favor of the No. 26 Buick owned by Kenny Bernstein, driven by Joe Ruttman in 1986. Phil Parsons would replace older brother Benny in the No. 55 Oldsmobile owned by Leo and Richard Jackson. Lake Speed started out 1986 in the No. 75 RahMoc ride but was let go early in the season. Speed would form his own team for 1987 in the No. 83 Oldsmobile.

A few car number changes took place as well. Kyle Petty would continue to drive the Wood Brothers Ford, switching from No. 7 to No. 21. Alan Kulwicki took the No. 7 for his independent team. Cale Yarborough exited the No. 28 Ford team and drove his self-owned No. 29 Oldsmobile. Davey Allison would compete for Rookie Of The Year in the Harry Ranier No. 28 Ford. Michael Waltrip would continue driving for Chuck Rider but switched from the No. 23 Chevrolet to the No. 30 Chevrolet.

Drivers remaining with the same teams from 1986 would be: No. 3 Dale Earnhardt (owner: Richard Childress), No. 4 Rick Wilson (Larry McClure) No. 5 Geoffrey Bodine (Rick Hendrick), No. 8 Bobby Hillin Jr. (Stavola Brothers), No. 9 Bill Elliott (Harry Melling), No. 15 Ricky Rudd (Bud Moore), No. 18 Tommy Ellis (Eric Freelander), No. 22 Bobby Allison (Stavola Brothers), No. 27 Rusty Wallace (Raymond Beadle), No. 33 Harry Gant (Hal Needham), No. 43 Richard Petty (Petty Enterprises), No. 52 Jimmy Means, No. 70 J. D. McDuffie (Tom Winkle), No. 71 Dave Marcis, No. 88 Buddy Baker (Baker/Danny Schiff), No. 90 Ken Schrader (Junie Donlavey) and the part-time/independent efforts of No. 14 A. J. Foyt, No. 67 Buddy Arrington, No. 77 Ken Ragan (Marvin Ragan), No. 81 Chet Fillip (Corey Fillip) and No. 89 Jim Sauter (Mueller Brothers).

Top drivers out of a ride included Joe Ruttman.

Those who officially threw their hat in the ring for NASCAR Rookie of the Year in 1987 would be: Davey Allison, Steve Christman (No. 62 AC Delco, Tom Winkle), Rodney Combs (No. 10 DiGard) and Derrike Cope (No. 19 Stoke Racing).

Ron Bouchard, Trevor Boys, Eddie Bierschwale and a host of others would battle for the remaining open spots.

Pacific Coast Racing announced that 1987 would be the final year the "Mean Green Dodge Machine" would run in the Winston Cup Series; on April 10, two days before the Valleydale Meats 500, it was announced that Chrysler would be returning to NASCAR in 1988, and would be fielding the Chrysler LeBaron. The new #80 car, sponsored by Mopar and Nintendo, would be nicknamed "Mopar Magic" and run by former champion Sheldon Johnson Jr.'s son, Tim Johnson. Chrysler announced several weeks later that Petty Enterprises would also be switching to the Chrysler LeBaron in 1988. After The Winston, it was announced that Bahari Racing, Jackson Brothers Motorsports, Means Racing, and Donlavey Racing would also switch to Chrysler in 1988. Hagan Motorsports and Speed Racing also announced that they would switch to Chrysler in 1988 after the Coca-Cola 600, and Kelman Racing announced that they would enter the Cup Series full-time beginning in 1988 as a PCR satellite team, bringing the total of Chrysler teams to nine. Chrysler executives called it the "Mopar Revolution".

Drivers and teams

Complete schedule

Manufacturer Team No. Driver Crew Chief
Buick King Racing 26 Morgan Shepherd Larry McReynolds
Stavola Brothers Racing 8 Bobby Hillin Jr.
22 Bobby Allison Jimmy Fennig
Chevrolet Bahari Racing 30 Michael Waltrip
Ellington Racing 1 Brett Bodine (R) Runt Pittman
Freedlander Motorsports 18 Dale Jarrett (R) (24)
Tommy Ellis (5)
Hendrick Motorsports 5 Geoffrey Bodine Gary Nelson
17 Darrell Waltrip Waddell Wilson
25 Tim Richmond Dennis Conner
35 Benny Parsons Harry Hyde
Junior Johnson & Associates 11 Terry Labonte Tim Brewer
Mach 1 Racing 33 Harry Gant Travis Carter
Marcis Auto Racing 71 Dave Marcis
Richard Childress Racing 3 Dale Earnhardt Kirk Shelmerdine
Dodge Pacific Coast Racing 02 Dennis Malone Rodney Clay
Ford AK Racing 7 Alan Kulwicki Bill Ingle
Arrington Racing 67 Buddy Arrington
Bud Moore Engineering 15 Ricky Rudd Bud Moore
Donlavey Racing 90 Ken Schrader Bob Johnson
Melling Racing 9 Bill Elliott Ernie Elliott
Ranier-Lundy Racing 28 Davey Allison (R) Joey Knuckles
Wood Brothers Racing 21 Kyle Petty Leonard Wood
Oldsmobile Baker-Schiff Racing 88 Buddy Baker
Cale Yarborough Motorsports 29 Cale Yarborough
Hagan Racing 44 Sterling Marlin Steve Hmiel
Jackson Brothers Motorsports 55 Phil Parsons Andy Petree
Morgan-McClure Motorsports 4 Rick Wilson Tony Glover
Speed Racing 83 Lake Speed Darrell Bryant
Pontiac Blue Max Racing 27 Rusty Wallace Barry Dodson
Dingman Brothers Racing 50 Greg Sacks
McDuffie Racing 70 J.D. McDuffie Jeff McDuffie
Means Racing 52 Jimmy Means Dennis Conner
Mueller Brothers Racing 89 Jim Sauter (27)
Patty Moise (2)
Petty Enterprises 43 Richard Petty Dale Inman
RahMoc Enterprises 75 Neil Bonnett Robin Pemberton
Winkle Motorsports 62 Steve Christman (R)

Limited Schedule

Manufacturer Team No. Driver Crew Chief Rounds
Buick Curb Racing 98 Ed Pimm 3
David Pearson Racing 16 Larry Pearson David Pearson 14
Chevrolet Adcox Racing 24 Grant Adcox 1
Ball Motorsports 99 Joe Ruttman 1
Edwards Racing 32 Jonathan Lee Edwards 2
Hylton Racing 48 James Hylton 2
Kelman Racing 10/86 Ryan Kelman Steve Searle 18
Phil Barkdoll Racing 73 Phil Barkdoll 1
Rodney Combs 10
Rick McCray 2
Bill Schmitt 2
Rosenblum Racing 63 Jocko Maggiacomo 3
Rudolph Racing 04 Charlie Rudolph 4
Samples Racing 34 Jesse Samples Jr. 2
Simko Racing 51 David Simko 4
Wawak Racing 74 Bobby Wawak 8
Ulrich Racing 6 D.K. Ulrich 6
Ernie Irvan 17
Trevor Boys 3
Ford Arrington Racing 61 Mike Potter 6
Gerhart Racing 82 Bobby Gerhart 2
Langley Racing 64 Rodney Combs 10
Rick McCray 2
S&H Racing 80 Jimmy Horton 2
Stocke Motorsports 19 Derrike Cope 11
Warren Razore Racing 79 Roy Smith 2
Oldsmobile Hamby Racing 12 Mark Martin 1
David Sosebee 3
Jim Bown 2
Brad Teague 5
Slick Johnson 8
Jaehne Motorsports 76 Hut Stricklin 3


No. Race Title Track Date TV
Busch Clash Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach February 8 CBS
7-Eleven Twin 125's February 12
1 Daytona 500 February 15
2 Goodwrench 500 North Carolina Motor Speedway, Rockingham March 1 SETN
3 Miller High Life 400 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, Richmond March 8 TBS
4 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 Atlanta International Speedway, Hampton March 15 ABC
5 TranSouth 500 Darlington Raceway, Darlington March 29 ESPN
6 First Union 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro April 5
7 Valleydale Meats 500 Bristol International Raceway, Bristol April 12
8 Sovran Bank 500 Martinsville Raceway, Ridgeway April 26 SETN
9 Winston 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega May 3 ESPN
Winston Open Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord May 17 ABC
The Winston
10 Coca-Cola 600 May 24 Jefferson-Pilot
11 Budweiser 500 Dover Downs International Speedway, Dover May 31 ESPN
12 Miller High Life 500 Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond June 14 SETN
13 Budweiser 400 Riverside International Raceway, Riverside June 21 ESPN
14 Miller American 400 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn June 28 CBS
15 Pepsi Firecracker 400 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach July 4 ESPN
16 Summer 500 Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond July 19 SETN
17 Talladega 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega July 26 CBS
18 Budweiser at the Glen Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen August 10 ESPN
19 Champion Spark Plugs 400 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn August 16
20 Busch 500 Bristol International Raceway, Bristol August 22
21 Southern 500 Darlington Raceway, Darlington September 6
22 Wrangler Jeans Indigo 400 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, Richmond September 13 SETN
23 Delaware 500 Dover Downs International Speedway, Dover September 20 ESPN
24 Goody's 500 Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway September 27 SETN
25 Holly Farms 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro October 4 ESPN
26 Oakwood Homes 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord October 11 SETN
27 AC Delco 500 North Carolina Motor Speedway, Rockingham October 25 TBS
28 Winston Western 500 Riverside International Raceway, Riverside November 8
29 Atlanta Journal 500 Atlanta International Speedway, Hampton November 22 ESPN

Busch Clash

The Busch Clash, an annual invitational event for all Busch Pole winners the previous season, was held February 8 at Daytona International Speedway. Bill Elliott drew for the pole. Alan Kulwicki was the wild card.


  1. 17-Darrell Waltrip

I don't remember the rest of the top ten...

7-Eleven Twin 125's

The 7-Eleven Twin 125's, a pair of qualifying races for the Daytona 500, were held February 12 at Daytona International Speedway. Dennis Malone and Rusty Wallace won the poles for both races, respectively, as a result of their speeds in qualifying on February 9.

Race One: Top Ten Results

  1. 15-Ricky Rudd
  2. 11-Terry Labonte
  3. 22-Bobby Allison
  4. 88-Buddy Baker
  5. 28-Davey Allison
  6. 02-Dennis Malone
  7. 75-Neil Bonnett
  8. 29-Cale Yarborough
  9. 6-D.K. Ulrich
  10. 44-Sterling Marlin


  • Jocko Maggiacomo DNS.
  • This race featured two flips, Phil Barkdoll and Tommy Ellis. A. J. Foyt was involved in the Ellis wreck and suffered a shoulder injury.

Race Two: Top Ten Results

  1. 25-Tim Richmond
  2. 17-Darrell Waltrip
  3. 43-Richard Petty
  4. 83-Lake Speed
  5. 21-Kyle Petty
  6. 27 Rusty Wallace
  7. 89-Jim Sauter
  8. 90-Ken Schrader
  9. 5-Geoffrey Bodine
  10. 55-Phil Parsons

Daytona 500

The 29th Running of the Daytona 500 was held on February 15. Dale Earnhardt won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 88-Buddy Baker
  2. 02-Dennis Malone
  3. 9-Bill Elliott
  4. 28-Davey Allison
  5. 25-Tim Richmond
  6. 43-Richard Petty
  7. 55-Phil Parsons
  8. 30-Michael Waltrip
  9. 5-Geoff Bodine
  10. 50-Greg Sacks
  • This was Buddy Baker's first win since the 1983 Firecracker 400.
  • In his first Daytona 500, Davey Allison finished in the top five.

Goodwrench 500

The Goodwrench 500 was held March 1 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. Terry Labonte won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 89-Jim Sauter
  2. 83-Lake Speed
  3. 9-Bill Elliott
  4. 15-Ricky Rudd
  5. 7-Alan Kulwicki
  6. 21-Kyle Petty
  7. 75-Neil Bonnett -1
  8. 77-Eddie Bierschwale -1
  9. 25-Tim Richmond -1
  10. 44-Sterling Marlin -1

Miller High Life 400

The Miller High Life 400 was held March 8 at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. Dennis Malone won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  2. 9-Bill Elliott
  3. 43-Richard Petty -1
  4. 15-Ricky Rudd -1
  5. 75-Neil Bonnett -1
  6. 27-Rusty Wallace -1
  7. 55-Phil Parsons -1
  8. 7-Alan Kulwicki -1
  9. 21-Kyle Petty -2
  10. 44-Sterling Marlin -2
  • Bobby Hillin Jr. went over on his roof when he was t-boned by Harry Gant. Fortunately, he was uninjured.

Motorcraft Quality Parts 500

The Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 was held March 15 at Atlanta International Raceway. Dennis Malone won the pole for the second week in a row.

Top Ten Results

  1. 02-Dennis Malone
  2. 11-Terry Labonte
  3. 43-Richard Petty
  4. 90-Ken Schrader
  5. 89-Jim Sauter
  6. 9-Bill Elliott
  7. 22-Bobby Allison
  8. 7-Alan Kulwicki
  9. 27-Rusty Wallace
  10. 25-Tim Richmond
  • For the second week in a row, a car was t-boned and went on its roof; in this case, Dave Marcis was hit by Dale Jarrett (making his first start with Freedlander) and went upside down.
  • Late in the going, Bill Elliott intentionally spun Dale Earnhardt under caution in retaliation for an incident the previous year, sending him into the outside wall hard, and then being rear-ended by Davey Allison. This sparked a massive brawl on pit road after the race.

TranSouth 500

The TranSouth 500 was held March 29 at Darlington Raceway. Dale Earnhardt won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 9-Bill Elliott
  2. 25-Tim Richmond
  3. 11-Terry Labonte
  4. 43-Richard Petty
  5. 90-Ken Schrader
  6. 5-Geoffrey Bodine
  7. 21-Kyle Petty
  8. 17-Darrell Waltrip
  9. 89-Jim Sauter
  10. 7-Alan Kulwicki

First Union 400

The First Union 400 was held April 5 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Dennis Malone won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 02-Dennis Malone
  2. 11-Terry Labonte
  3. 75-Neil Bonnett
  4. 43-Richard Petty
  5. 3-Dale Earnhardt -1
  6. 22-Bobby Allison -1
  7. 7-Alan Kulwicki -1
  8. 71-Dave Marcis -1
  9. 9-Bill Elliott -1
  10. 88-Buddy Baker -1
  • This was the final race of DiGard Motorsports. The team's assets were sold to businessman Bob Whitcomb in 1988.
  • Several Chrysler executives were in attendance, and after seeing Malone's dominant performance, Chrysler concluded they had a way back into NASCAR, and announced a 1988 return two days before the Valleydale Meats 500.

Valleydale Meats 500

The Valleydale Meats 500 was held April 12 at Bristol International Raceway. Ernie Irvan, in his first Winston Cup Series start, won the pole, but did not start, as the car only moved a few feet before dying.

Top Ten Results

  1. 11-Terry Labonte
  2. 9-Bill Elliott
  3. 75-Neil Bonnett
  4. 02-Dennis Malone -1
  5. 21-Kyle Petty -1
  6. 10-Rodney Combs -2
  7. 27-Rusty Wallace -2
  8. 24-Grant Adcox -2
  9. 17-Darrell Waltrip -2
  10. 28-Davey Allison -2
  • This was Grant Adcox's first top-ten finish in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1978.
  • This was the first time Chrysler offered any form of factory support since 1984.

Sovran Bank 500

The Sovran Banks 500 was held April 26 at Martinsville Speedway. Dennis Malone won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  2. 11-Terry Labonte
  3. 17-Darrell Waltrip
  4. 67-Buddy Arrington -1
  5. 27-Rusty Wallace -1
  6. 75-Neil Bonnett -2
  7. 22-Bobby Allison -2
  8. 21-Kyle Petty -2
  9. 88-Buddy Baker -2
  10. 5-Geoff Bodine -2

Winston 500

The Winston 500 was held May 3 at Alabama International Motor Speedway. Dennis Malone won the pole at a record speed of 212.809 mph (44.998 seconds) using a new Mopar engine, a record that still stands today and will likely never be broken. But the race was also remembered for a near-tragedy early when Bobby Allison flew into the fence and nearly landed in the frontstretch grandstands. Though Allison was not injured, a female fan lost an eye as a result of being struck by debris. Eventually this crash would lead to the introduction of restrictor plates in 1988, and the practice continues to this day.

Top Ten Results

  1. 11-Terry Labonte
  2. 02-Dennis Malone
  3. 25-Tim Richmond
  4. 75-Neil Bonnett
  5. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  6. 77-Eddie Bierschwale
  7. 17-Darrell Waltrip
  8. 9-Bill Elliott
  9. 44-Sterling Marin
  10. 21-Kyle Petty
  • This was the last Winston Cup race at Daytona or Talladega to be run unrestricted with normal engine configurations
  • In addition to the Allison crash, Charlie Rudolph was involved in a head-on crash into the wall on the final lap after making contact with Dave Marcis. Rudolph had to be cut from the car, and was pronounced dead on the scene; an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a basilar skull fracture.

The Winston

The Winston, an annual invitational race for previous winners in Winston Cup, was held May 17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Top Ten Results

  1. 02-Dennis Malone
  2. 89-Jim Sauter
  3. 11-Terry Labonte
  4. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  5. 9-Bill Elliott
  6. 15-Ricky Rudd
  7. 27-Rusty Wallace
  8. 83-Lake Speed
  9. 17-Darrell Waltrip
  10. 43-Richard Petty
  • This marked the final start of a Dodge Mirada in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

Coca-Cola 600

The Coca-Cola 600 was held May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The No. 02 of Dennis Malone won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  2. 02-Dennis Malone
  3. 44-Sterling Marlin
  4. 77-Eddie Bierschwale
  5. 15-Ricky Rudd
  6. 11-Terry Labonte
  7. 28-Davey Allison
  8. 88-Buddy Baker
  9. 55-Phil Parsons
  10. 50-Greg Sacks
  • This marked the first start of a Dodge 600 in NASCAR competition (even though the car still called it a Mirada, as Pacific Coast Racing had these made in bulk and had no time to make new Dodge 600 decals).
  • This was Eddie Bierschwale's first career top-five finish.
  • Benny Parsons sustained serious injuries in a wreck and was out for the next three races. Rick Hendrick replaced him in the #35 Chevrolet.

Budweiser 500

The Budweiser 500 was held May 31 at Dover Downs International Speedway. Dennis Malone won the pole for the fourth straight race.

Top Ten Results

  1. 02-Dennis Malone
  2. 28-Davey Allison
  3. 11-Terry Labonte
  4. 83-Lake Speed
  5. 16-Larry Pearson
  6. 64-Rodney Combs -1
  7. 15-Ricky Rudd -1
  8. 88-Buddy Baker -1
  9. 17-Darrell Waltrip -2
  10. 18-Dale Jarrett -2
  • This was the first NASCAR victory for the Dodge 600.
  • This race saw many very hard hits throughout the day, two of which caused physical damage to the walls and caused two red flags for a total of three hours. As a result, ESPN left the race following Rick Hendrick's crash into a gate, and came back in time for the restart.

Miller High Life 500

The Miller High Life 500 was held June 14 at Pocono Raceway. The No. 11 of Terry Labonte won the pole.

Top Ten Results

  1. 02-Dennis Malone
  2. 3-Dale Earnhardt
  3. 83-Lake Speed
  4. 25-Tim Richmond
  5. 11-Terry Labonte
  6. 17-Darrell Waltrip
  7. 15-Ricky Rudd
  8. 22-Bobby Allison
  9. 16-Larry Pearson
  10. 75-Neil Bonnett
  • This was Dennis Malone's second win in a row.
  • This was the first career Winston Cup Series start for Ryan Kelman. He ran using equipment and cars purchased from the defunct DiGard Motorsports, not even bothering to repaint or renumber the car due to time constraints. Kelman finished 31st, 1 lap down.

Budweiser 400

Coming whenever...

Cars Used in 1987