|Race 29 of 29 in the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
Layout of Atlanta International Speedway, used until 1996
|Date||November 19, 1989|
|Official name||Atlanta Journal 500|
|Location||Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton, Georgia|
Permanent racing facility|
1.522 mi (2.449 km)
|Distance||328 laps, 499.2 mi (803.3 km)|
|Weather||Cold with temperatures of 60.1 °F (15.6 °C); wind speeds of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h)|
|Average speed||140.299 miles per hour (225.789 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing|
|No. 3||Dale Earnhardt||Richard Childress Racing|
|Television in the United States|
Bob Jenkins |
The 1989 Atlanta Journal 500 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing event that took place on November 19, 1989, at Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia. This was the first Cup race after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Five of the most dominant drivers of the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season were Dale Earnhardt (average finish 10th place), Rusty Wallace (average finish 10th place), Mark Martin (average finish 11th place), Darrell Waltrip (average finish 12th place), and Bill Elliott (average finish of 13th place).
Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) is one of ten current intermediate track to hold NASCAR races; the others are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Homestead Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway. However, at the time, only Charlotte and Darlington were built with New Hampshire just under construction.
The layout at Atlanta International Speedway at the time was a four-turn traditional oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long. The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the back stretch are banked at five.
It took three hours and thirty-six minutes to complete this 328-lap event in front of 78,000 people.Dale Earnhardt managed to defeat Geoffrey Bodine by nearly 26 seconds. Eight drivers failed to qualify for this race. There were four accidents and two debris-related incidents; causing 11% of the race to be run under a caution flag. The average duration of laps under the green flag was almost 42 laps.
Grant Adcox crashed heavily on lap 198 of the event and died of major chest and head injuries, also suffering a heart attack as result of the crash. Upon investigation, it was determined that the severe impact had torn his improperly mounted racing seat away from its mount entirely, and this led to Adcox's death. It also led to new safety regulations on the way seats were mounted for the 1990 season.
Earnhardt was the winner of $81,700 ($179,648 when adjusted for inflation) while last-place finisher Phil Parsons walked away with $4,525 ($9,333 when adjusted for inflation). Coming into this race, Mark Martin didn't yet have the stuff yet to win the Cup. He had won his first race two weeks before Atlanta. Dale Earnhardt was the odds-on favorite to win the Winston Cup by October. After a series of three bad finishes in his home state of North Carolina, he was second in the running for the championship.
This race ended up becoming one of the most boring and dominant races of the entire 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Dale Earnhardt led almost every lap with the exception of two runs which were led by other drivers on contrary pit strategies, Dick Trickle and Ken Schrader.Rusty Wallace would clinch the championship in this race; despite making attempts to make the race more interesting with the troubles and issues he had during the race. He settled for a 15th-place finish. 1989 was a lousy year to be a Dale Earnhardt fans when it came to the NASCAR Winston Cup championship situation.
Last race for Hollywood director Hal Needham's race team, the blown motor on lap 213 put the #66 Chevy of Rick Mast, and the team, into retirement early. This race would also result in the last top-ten finish for Neil Bonnett.
|2||7||5||Geoffrey Bodine||Chevrolet||328||$33,625||0||170||+25.71 seconds|
|3||6||94||Sterling Marlin||Oldsmobile||328||$25,275||5||170||Lead lap under green flag|
|4||2||25||Ken Schrader||Chevrolet||328||$18,875||38||165||Lead lap under green flag|
|5||8||17||Darrell Waltrip||Chevrolet||327||$18,800||1||160||+1 lap|
|6||16||42||Kyle Petty||Pontiac||326||$6,775||0||150||+2 laps|
|7||29||8||Bobby Hillin, Jr.||Buick||326||$13,117||0||146||+2 laps|
|8||24||75||Morgan Shepherd||Pontiac||326||$13,350||0||142||+2 laps|
|9||26||21||Neil Bonnett||Ford||326||$8,950||0||138||+2 laps|
|10||22||83||Lake Speed||Oldsmobile||326||$10,925||0||134||+2 laps|
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