Wednesday, May 22, 2024

1982 – Eddy Staves Off Trickle’s Rush, Captures Volunteer 300

Mike Eddy has plenty of company in victory lane after winning the ASA-All Pro co-sanctioned Volunteer 300 at Bristol International Raceway. – Don Thies Photo

Bristol, Tenn. (May 22, 1982) – Defending American Speed Association champion Mike Eddy made his first win of the season a big one, Saturday night, holding off a resolute late-race Dick Trickle charge to take the combined ASA-All Pro Volunteer 300 at Bristol International Raceway by a car-length.

Although seven different drivers exchanged the lead 10 times during the 300-lapper, Eddy took over for good on lap 165 and braced himself for the inevitable Trickle assault.

“With 15 laps to go, my crew chief radioed me and told me Trickle was coming,” Eddy said. “So, I gathered everything up and ran as fast as I could.”

Fast took on a new meaning at the intimidating, 36-degree banked, .533-mile Bristol layout, as the ASA and All Pro cars made a mockery of all previous track records.

Rusty Wallace cranked out a 15.912-second (120.588 mph) lap in time trials to take the pole position for the race as the 36-car field averaged nearly 117 miles per hour in qualifying.

After Wallace led the first seven circuits, he was overwhelmed by Darrell Waltrip and Jody Ridley. The crowd of 8,200 hardly had time to sit down as the Waltrip-Ridley battle boiled and Neil Bonnett made a frenzied run from the back of the field after ignition problems kept him from participating in time trials.

Bonnett capped his terrific drive by putting his Mustang in front on lap 108 when Waltrip and Ridley pitted for fuel and tires.

A caution on lap 147 caused a shuffle and Trickle took the top spot away from Bonnett. Wallace would scoot by Trickle a lap later and stay in front until lap 164 when the yellow flew again.

“That mid-race caution probably won the race for me,” Eddy explained afterwards. “My right front tire was going down and I could hardly steer the car.”

Once his mount was corrected, Eddy was awesome, streaking into the lead on lap 165 but followed closely by Ridley and Bob Strait.

A devastating crash occurred on lap 209 when it appeared that Ridley darted around a slower car and as tail-ended by Strait on the frontstretch. Ridley’s new car, completed just hours before the race, climbed the wall, nearly getting out of the track while Strait left-handed inside wall hard. Neither driver was injured but incurred heavy damage.

Trickle didn’t seem to find his best set of “staggered” tires until late in the race, as evidenced by his making up nearly two-thirds of a lap deficit in the last 40 circuits. But he could not pass Eddy.

“It took us a while to get it right,” Trickle said in a post-race interview. “So, I guess I’ll be happy with second.”

Trickle has finished second in three ASA events thus far this season.

Bob Senneker was third, the last car on the lead lap.

Alan Kulwicki wound up fourth with 296 laps completed and Wallace took fifth, even though a green flag pit stop dropped him back five laps off the pace.

In the first “North-south” confrontation since last year’s ASA-All Pro co-sanctioned All American 400 at Nashville, the Northerners defintely had the edge Saturday night, takin eight of the top-10 positions.

Results –

1. Mike Eddy
2. Dick Trickle
3. Bob Senneker
4. Alan Kulwicki
5. Rusty Wallace
6. Ray Young
7. Tom Harrington
8. Kent Stauffer
9. Harry Deaton
10.Junior Niedecken
11.Randy Couch
12.Bobby Dotter
13.Dave Jensen
14.Gary Adams
15.Buddy Schrock
16.Darryl Sage
17.Butch Miller
18.Dennis Vogel
19.Jody Ridley
20.Bob Strait

ASA starter John Potts strikes a triumphant pose at the disposing of the All Pro Bull during the Volunteer 300 at Bristol International Raceway. – Don Thies Photo

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