A Look Back In Talladega History: Bill Elliott
If some things in life are certain, then from 1985 through 1987 it wasn’t a question of who was going to win the pole at Talladega Superspeedway, it was simply a question of how fast Bill Elliott was going to go when he won it.
The man they call “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” holds the record for most consecutive pole awards at Talladega Superspeedway with six (1985-1987) and the record for most total pole awards with eight. He is Talladega Superspeedway’s unofficial “Qualifying King.”
When Elliott and his Melling Racing team rolled into Talladega Superspeedway for the 1985 Winston 500 (now Aaron’s 499), they brought with them a new era of stockcar racing. Speeds that were once considered unattainable we suddenly shattered.
Cale Yarborough’s pole winning speed for the 1984 Winston 500 was 202.692 mph, the fastest qualifying speed the track had seen in 15 years of action. Elliott’s speed for the 1985 race was a blistering 209.398 mph, nearly seven mph faster than the previous record and one the largest jumps in qualifying speed ever displayed at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track.
Elliott handily won the 1985 Winston 500 and served notice to the competition that to win at Talladega it would take a sleek race car, loads of horsepower and a driver that could wrangle it all.
Qualifying speeds would continue to increase each year during the May race weekend at Talladega, as Elliott continued to stockpile pole awards. In 1986, the speeds jumped to 212.229 mph and finally 212.809 mph in 1987. Elliott’s 1987 qualifying lap still stands today as the fastest in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history.
Over his career, Elliott has proven that his prowess at Talladega isn’t confined to just qualifying either. With two wins and a track record 28 lead lap finishes, Bill Elliott has proven that he can qualify, and compete, with the best.
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header, Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26, 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.