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AMS Flashback: Awesome Bill Comes Alive In 1985

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1985 turned out to be a groundbreaking year for Georgia native Bill Elliott, as the Dawsonville, Ga., native took the sporting world by storm by winning the "Winston Million" and earning himself a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. But Elliott's dominance of winning 11 races wasn't just limited to NASCAR's superspeedways in 1985. Awesome Bill From Dawsonville found success at other tracks too, including Atlanta.

Then known as Atlanta International Raceway. Elliott swept both races at Atlanta in 1985, winning the March running of the Coca-Cola 500 and November's Atlanta Journal-Constitution 500. In the March race, Elliott started third behind Neil Bonnett and went on to lead the most laps, pacing the field for 129 of 328 laps. His closest competition that day, Cale Yarborough led 111 circuits in the Harry Ranier fielded Hardee's entry, but his chances of winning vanished when Yarborough's day ended early with an engine failure.

In November, a similar cast of characters took the stage with Elliott again starting third, this time behind polesitter Harry Gant. As was the case in the Coca-Cola 500, Elliott and Yarbourgh were the cars to beat with Elliott once again leading the most laps with 175. Yarborough finished second, leading 137 laps ahead of Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Morgan Sheperd.

Waltrip, however, got a sweeter victory at the end of the season as he was crowned the season's champion despite Elliott's 11 victories to Waltrip's three.

The stars and legends of NASCAR return to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend 2011 for three nights of NASCAR Night Racing.