By 1981, the only thing predictable about the Talladega 500 (now AMP Energy 500) at Talladega Superspeedway, was that the winner would be completely unpredictable. Each year, for 12 years, a different driver celebrated in Gatorade Victory Lane without a single repeat champion.
There were famous names who had won at the 2.66 mile superspeedway during that time; Bobby Allison in 1971, Richard Petty in ’74, Buddy Baker in ’75, Donnie Allison in ’77 and Darrell Waltrip in ’79.
But almost as impressive as the list of superstars that had won the Talladega 500, was the list of the lesser-known drivers who won during that time; Richard Brickhouse in 1969, James Hylton In ’72, Dick Brooks in ’73 and Lennie Pond in ’78.
No driver, famous or otherwise, could make a repeat trip to victory lane in the Talladega 500.
By contrast, the Winston 500 (now Aaron’s 499) featured more than it’s fair share of repeat winners. By 1981, David Pearson and Buddy Baker had both won the spring race at Talladega three times each, with Bobby Allison winning twice.
Unfortunately, 1981 would be the final year of the magical streak, with Ron Bouchard recording his first and only win in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, capping off the string of unique Talladega 500 champions at thirteen. In 1982, Darrell Waltrip finally broke through as the first driver to earn two Talladega 500 victories.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header Aaron’s Dream Weekend, featuring the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.