West Allis, Wis. (July 6, 1986) - Butch Miller won his third American Speed Association race of the season Sunday as he held off NASCAR veteran Bobby Allison to win the Miller High Life 200 at State Fair Park.
Miller, of Coopersville, Mich., took the lead for good on lap 175 in his Chevrolet Camaro, survived two late caution flags and went on to win by a margin of 1.06 seconds with an average speed of 84.260 mph. Allison, of Hueytown, Ala., finished second in a Ford Thunderbird, while Joe Shear, of Beloit took third in a Chevrolet Camaro. Tom Jones, of Northbrook, Ill., was fourth in a Camaro and pole sitter Harold Fair, of Livonia, Mich., was fifth.
“This race ranks right up there with Michigan in ASA,” said Miller, who took over the ASA points lead with 728. Jones is second at 672 and Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, a 20th-place finisher, is third at 653.
“I would trade a lot of ARTGO and other wins for a win here,” Miller said. “If you would guarantee me a win here before the race, I would take it.”
Miller had to earn his victory and $8,990 check as Allison, who has competed in every ASA race here since 1977, was not willing to concede anything in the last 25 laps.
“I thought we had a good shot at winning it, I really did,” said Allison, who last won here in 1978. “I saw that he was running awfully good and was hoping that he would make that one mistake in his 10 years.”
Miller didn’t make any mistakes even though he lost third gear early. He held the lead three times for 50 laps and also managed to slip through a three-car accident on lap 163.
Mike Eddy of Midland, Mich., and Bobby Dotter of Milwaukee, vying for the lead, touched going down the back straightaway. Trickle, running fifth, was unable to avoid the accident but Allison and Miller were.
“They were running tight and got together,” Allison said. “Both lost their traction and it was fortunate for me that they went down on the track first instead of up. I went high and was able to get by.”
Trickle and Dotter were able to get back into the race but Eddy never finished. Neither did Mark Martin, who blew an engine going into turn one on lap 47. The Franklin resident was one of 14 drivers who escaped the 140-degree track temperatures early.
“It’s fortunate for all three of us that (Martin) dropped out early,” Miller said. “He was hooked up and his motor was tuned perfectly. He would have been right up there, if not in first.”
Shear, running in his first ASA race of the season, was content with his finish.
“I wasn’t that fast but I ran consistently all day,” he said. “I would have liked to run with the leaders but the car wasn’t handling that well. I just watched the drivers in front of me drop out and pretty soon I was in third place.”
The first driver to drop out was Ken Lund of Oregon. His Pontiac Firebird bad an oil problem and it went into the pits for good on lap 13. Lund brought out he first of 11 caution flags that ate up 60 laps. The last came on lap 179, four laps after Miller took the lead.
“I expected (Allison) to blow past me at the restart but he didn’t,” Miller said. “After that I was worried about getting as much distance between myself and him just in case something would happen.”
1. Butch Miller
2. Bobby Allison
3. Joe Shear
4. Tom Jones
5. Harold Fair
6. Kent Stauffer
7. Kenny Wallace
8. Russ Urlin
9. Ed Cooper
10. Larry Conroy
11. Ken Christenson
12. Pete Gibbons
13. Danny Darnell
14. Dennis Vogel
15. Garry St. Amant
16. Gene Harsch
17. John Wilson
18. Doug Mayr
19. Steve Seligman
20. Dick Trickle
21. Bobby Dotter
22. Larry Middleton
23. Mike Eddy
24. Bruce VanderLann