On This Date: 1986 Miller High Life 500

June 8, 2018

Seth and Sutton Sharp

On this date in 1986, the Miller High Life 500 at Pocono International Raceway was held. It was the 13th race on the Winston Cup schedule.

  • Qualifying for the race was held on Saturday after rain washed out the day’s activities on Friday.
  • Geoff Bodine won the pole with a track record 153.625 MPH qualifying run. Benny Parsons, Tim Richmond, Harry Gant and Neil Bonnett rounded out the top-five.
  • Five drivers failed to qualify for the race, including Don Hume, Bob Park, Tommie Crozier, Mike Potter and Jerry Ward. Park is the father of former Winston Cup driver Steve Park. It was the fifth and final time Park attempted to qualify for a Winston Cup race, failing to qualify all five times.
  • Tim Richmond broke a 64 race winless drought, winning for the first time since the 1984 Northwestern Bank 400 at North Wilkesboro. Richmond’s victory started a string of three consecutive wins at the track.
  • Richmond’s triumph also marked the 16th time in 17 Pocono races that the race-winner started inside of the top-10. Cale Yarborough started 12th in June of 1984 on his way to Victory Lane.
  • The race ended under caution after a violent crash involving Buddy Arrington, Harry Gant and Morgan Shepherd. The accident sent Arrington (concussion) and Gant (bruised heart) to the hospital.
  • The final caution, which came on lap-197 for the accident involving the trio, denied Dale Earnhardt a chance at victory. Earnhardt had cut Richmond’s lead from six to two seconds at the time of the accident, as Richmond was trying to save fuel.
  • Cale Yarborough finished third, Ricky Rudd fourth and Bill Elliott came home fifth.
  • Nine cars finished on the lead lap, while only 19 of the race’s 40 drivers completed at least 195/200 laps.
  • Michael and Darrell Waltrip finished 39th and 40th in the 40 car field. The brothers both experienced engine problems over the first 12 laps.
  • The race marked the 82nd and final Winston Cup start for Rick Newsom, who tragically passed away in August of 1988 following a private plane crash.
  • Earnhardt’s second place finish added to his Winston Cup points lead, extending it to a 251 point advantage over Darrell Waltrip. Bobby Allison, Rusty Wallace and Richmond left Pocono third, fourth and fifth in points respectively.
Updated: June 8, 2018 — 11:57 pm

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