June 14, 2018
Seth and Sutton Sharp
On this date in 1987, Tim Richmond won the Miller High Life 500 at Pocono. The race was Richmond’s first of the season, after missing the first 11 due to health issues. He also won the final race of the 1986 season. Richmond’s health issues limited him to eight races in 1987, but it didn’t limit his success.
- Richmond’s first race back, the aforementioned Miller High Life 500 at Pocono, saw him start third, lead 82 laps and end the race in victory lane. Bill Elliott, Kyle Petty, Cale Yarborough and Dale Earnhardt rounded out the top-five. To put Richmond’s triumph into perspective, he won after sitting out 11 races. During that stretch without Richmond, Earnhardt lit the Winston Cup Series on fire. Earnhardt won six of those 11 races, and finished in the top-five nine times.
- Richmond’s second race back was more of the same, as he led 48/95 laps at Riverside, en-route to his third consecutive Winston Cup victory.
- Over the following two races, he led seven laps at Michigan and finished fourth, and finished 22nd at Daytona.
- Richmond returned to Pocono and promptly sat on the pole. Engine issues left Richmond with a disappointing 29th place finish.
- The final three races of Richmond’s career came at Talladega, Watkins Glen and Michigan, where he finished 11th, 10th and 29th. His 29th place finish at Michigan was due to engine issues.
Richmond’s career will always be looked at in wonder, thinking about what he could have accomplished if he never experienced health issues, with his successful pairing driving for Rick Hendrick fueling the conversation.
Over Richmond’s final 27 Winston Cup races, he won nine times, finished in the top-five 15 times and picked up 18 top-10s. He also sat on the pole eight times. 23 of those 27 races saw Richmond lead at least one lap. This hot streak started with Richmond’s 11th race driving for Hendrick.