AMS THROWBACK: Allison wins in 1982 amid record number of lead changes
Bobby Allison arrived at Atlanta for the 1982 Atlanta Journal 500 eager and determined. And by the time the day was over, it turned out that he was far from the only driver with a similar sentiment, as he won a race marked by a track record that still stands today - 45 lead changes.
From Allison's standpoint, it was time to chase down a title. He was 37 points behind Darrell Waltrip for first place with one race remaining in the season following that year's fall Atlanta event. A strong finish would help Allison creep closer to the lead, and some bad luck for Waltrip could possibly vault Allison into first place going into the season finale at Riverside, California.
Allison did a masterful job that day of controlling what he could control. He led 14 times for a race-high 100 laps, moving to the top spot for the first time on the 11th lap. The No. 88 from the DiGard Racing powerhouse was a strong factor most of the day, but did have some other big names to contend with for the win. Among them was Richard Petty, who had hopes of ending a 38-race winless streak that day. Those aspirations ended with 15 laps to go after a spin by Petty and wall contact ended his day early.
The caution ended up setting the stage for a key part of the race. As the leaders pitted, Allison got out of the pits ahead of the Harry Gant. That position was exactly what Allison needed, as he won by a half a second ahead of Gant, Waltrip, Tim Richmond and Joe Ruttman.
The win was Allison's fifth at Atlanta, giving him victories here with four different car owners - DiGard, Bud Moore, Mario Rossi and Richard Howard.
But while Allison did indeed do all he could do that day in Atlanta to move closer to a title, it ended up not being enough, as Waltrip left Atlanta with a 22-point lead and clinched his second title in a row the next race at Riverside.