Hillin wins a scorcher at Talladega

Sunday, July 27, 1986 – Bobby Hillin Jr. survived the soaring temperatures and held off a red-hot Tim Richmond to score his only NASCAR premier series win with a victory in the Talladega 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway. The win came in Hillin’s 78th start in the series and snapped a two-race win streak enjoyed by Richmond.

Hillin became the series’ youngest winner with the victory, at 22 years, 1 month and 22 days.

Hillin competed for a dozen years after his Talladega win, eventually ending his career with 334 starts, eight top-five and 43 top-10 finishes.

It was the second career victory for team owners Billy and Mickey Stavola, who fielded the No. 8 Buick for Hillin as well as the No. 22 Buick for Bobby Allison.

Davey Allison made his only career start for team owner Junior Johnson, filling in for an injured Neil Bonnett in Johnson’s No. 12 Chevrolet. Allison finished seventh. After making infrequent starts for Hoss Ellington and the Sadler Brothers, the start was the final time Allison would compete in a Chevrolet.

Bonnett had suffered rib and shoulder injuries the previous weekend during a crash at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

Ricky Rudd finished third in the No. 15 Bud Moore Ford, with an assist from Rusty Wallace. Rudd exited the car due to illness and turned the driving over to Wallace, who had fallen from the race earlier due to engine issues in his Blue Max Racing Pontiac.

The race featured a then-record 26 drivers leading one or more laps. There were 48 lead changes.

Hillin was the 12th different winner of the season, tying the NASCAR record set in 1983 and matched in ’84.

Thirty-nine of the 40 cars in the lineup qualified at more than 200 mph.

Richmond takes Pocono thriller

Sunday, July 20, 1986 – Tim Richmond, accustomed to winning by somewhat more comfortable margins, came out on top in a last-lap drag race with Ricky Rudd to the finish line to win the Summer 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Richmond, driving the No. 25 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, passed teammate Geoff Bodine for the lead to start the last lap, but the race out of Turn 3 saw Rudd come charging to the inside of the two frontrunners. Richmond’s margin of victory over Rudd was 0.05 second.

The victory was the third in four races for Richmond, who became the third driver in five seasons to sweep both races at the 2.5-mile track.

The race was cut from 200 to 150 laps due to poor visibility resulting from fog in the area. The start of the race had been delayed approximately 90 minutes because of weather issues.

Richmond won despite sustaining heavy damage to his vehicle during a wreck; he lost nearly two laps while repairs were being made.

Neil Bonnett, driver of the No. 12 Chevrolet fielded by Junior Johnson, was transported to a local hospital after his involvement in a five-car incident on lap 126. He was treated for a broken collarbone and rib.

Quick results for Bonnett, Wood Brothers

Sunday, May 20, 1979 – It took Neil Bonnett only three races with the Wood Brothers to show that their belief in his talent wasn’t misplaced as Bonnett put the famed No. 21 Mercury in victory lane when he won the Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover International Speedway. Bonnett beat Cale Yarborough for his third career win in the series, thanks to a late caution that erased Yarborough’s 10-second lead.

Bonnett replaced three-time series champ David Pearson in the No. 21; Pearson and the team had split following a pit road miscue at Darlington.

Bonnett split with team owner Jim Stacy just three races into the ’79 season and seemed destined for a career in the local bullrings of the southeast. He said after the Dover win that he was “outside mounting tires” on his Late Model car when the Wood Brothers called to see if he was interested in driving for the team.

Yarborough did not pit under the final caution, brought out when J.D. McDuffie was hit by Ricky Rudd, who had blown a tire. Bonnett did pit, and the fresh tires and quick pit work by the Woods proved to be the difference.

Yarborough had Bonnett a lap down earlier but ran out of gas and had to pit, thus allowing Bonnett to get back on the lead lap.

Darrell Waltrip suffered an engine failure, but his DiGard team reportedly replaced the piece in 18 minutes to get their driver back out on the track.