remarkable, incredible and awesome are only a few of the words used to describe the skills that enabled dale earnhardt to capture "the winston" in 1987.
"the winston", nascar's version of an all-star game, included a list of the sport's greatest as the green flag waved on the third annual contest. bill elliott appeared poised to secure his second win in as many years in this event as the final segment of the race thundered to life.
the pack entered turn one full bore. geoff bodine beat bill elliott into the turn, but bodine was outside pole sitter elliott. the two staked a claim for the same piece of real estate and made contact. bodine spun backwards with elliott going high. a decisive move by dale earnhardt, who was running third, saw him dive to the bottom of the track, and in a split second the number three chevrolet was at the point. the caution waved, and the drivers readied their mounts for the restart.
the green flag was unfurled, and dale earnhardt led bill elliott, tim richmond, terry labonte, and the rest of the gladiators of the day. elliott pressed the thunderbird hard in pursuit of earnhardt's monte carlo. in turn two, the nine and three swapped paint, and the adrenalin factor was off the scale. the combatants hurdled down the backstretch clawing for supremacy. with seven laps remaining, earnhardt and elliott blasted out of turn four like two missiles on the same trajectory. the three car led, but the number nine was glued to its bumper.
as they entered the tri-oval the bumping intensified. earnhardt's chevy rocketed onto the grass in front of the main grandstand. the crowd's reaction could be heard over the roar of the race cars as earnhardt's steed was in the grass and sideways. in the blink of an eye earnhardt's blue and yellow machine was aimed back onto the track in front of elliot's rage red thunderbird. remarkably, earnhardt was never out of control and never relinquished the lead!
when the checkered flag waved and the dust had settled those in attendance had witnessed a race that history will forever remember. dale earnhardt had etched an unforgettable impression of his driving talent in the record books by winning "the winston" in 1987.