History is a big part of racing, and the history of short track racing runs deep. At certain points during the year, Speed51 will use our new “Throwback Thursday” segment to look back on some of the biggest stories from years past. During each edition of Throwback Thursday, we will revisit stories previously published on Speed51.
For today’s Throwback Thursday feature, we will take a look back at a once-in-a-lifetime event that took place on this date back in 1983.
February 27, 1983
If there wasn’t video proof, you might not even belief it. The tour that competed that day is now defunct and the facility that hosted the event has since been demolished.
Back in 1983 the ASA National Tour was at its peak, so trying something new wasn’t anything to get upset about. The idea: a Late Model race inside the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The result: a page in the history books and really nothing more. Today, we look back at this race some 37 years later in our Throwback Thursday segment.
It would be the first and only race of it’s kind for asphalt Late Models at the Pontiac Silverdome, and the first race of the 1983 season for the ASA National Tour.
Thirty cars answered the call that day with heat wins going to Butch Miller, Tom Jones, Kenny Adams, Don Collins, and Buddy Schrock.
The feature event started just 20 of those cars, with Miller and Jones on the front row. Miller took the top spot and never surrendered the lead on his way to victory lane.
“I remember Rusty Wallace was six inches off my bumper,” Miller told Speed51.com this week. “We got to victory lane and the trophy was as tall as my son Hank. We took that same car to Michigan later that year.”
Dick Trickle started ninth, was involved in the first caution on lap 16 and rebounded to finish third behind Jones and Miller. Bob Strait started 20th and finished fourth as 12 of the 20 cars finished on the lead lap.
Rusty Wallace finished 12th that day and would go on to win the ASA National title in 1983.
Video footage from that day can be viewed by clicking here.
Other Events on This Date
2014 – NASCAR Cup Series rookie Cole Custer dominated at ISM Raceway (Phoenix) to win his first race in what is now known as the ARCA Menards Series West. Custer won at Iowa and New Hampshire the year before and had Phoenix won in the fall of 2013 when Gray Gaulding booted him out of the lead. In the spring of 2014, Custer got his revenge.
2000 – Ronnie Sanders bested a 37-car field at Birmingham International Raceway (AL) in the annual Early Bird 100. Sanders beat out future Snowball Derby winner and current crew chief Ricky Turner.
1965 – Ned Jarrett won his first of 13 races in a year when he won his second series NASCAR Championship. We are giving credit to Ned on Speed51.com because he won 12 of those races on short tracks.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Historian, Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Unknown