MRN Flashback: 1987 Twin 125s

Ken Schrader

Schrader celebrates in Victory Lane. (Photo: ISC Archives)

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Bill Elliott was fast, but Ken Schrader was first on Feb. 12, 1987 … when Daytona International Speedway staged its Twin 125 qualifying races for that year’s Daytona 500.

In the qualifying session just days earlier, Elliott had sped around the 2.5-mile oval at a speed of 210.364 miles per hour … a track record that still stands, albeit from the pre-restrictor plate era. On race day, Schrader turned back Elliott’s last-lap slingshot move and scored the upset victory in the first half of the day’s doubleheader.

Schrader’s Junie Donlavey Ford beat Elliott to the checkered flag by a foot. Darrell Waltrip, Buddy Baker and Rick Wilson completed the top five. Dale Earnhardt, who would go on to win the 1987 Cup Series championship, finished seventh. Indy car stars Tom Sneva and A.J. Foyt placed 15th and 26th, respectively.

Three days later, Elliott would have the last laugh during Speedweeks – winning the Daytona 500 for the second time in three years.

In the second qualifying race, Hendrick Motorsports “pinch-hitter” Benny Parsons filled in for ailing Tim Richmond and scored a winning run in his first drive with the team. Parsons avoided Blackie Wangerin’s spinning car on the final lap and beat runner-up Bobby Allison to the finish by 1.89 seconds.

“I thought I was crashed on the last lap,” Parsons said. “I saw a hole between Blackie and the wall, and just barely made it. It was a close call, for sure.”

Geoff Bodine finished third in another Hendrick Chevrolet with Sterling Marlin and Harry Gant rounding out the top five. Future NASCAR Hall of Famers Cale Yarborough and Rusty Wallace finished 11th and 28th, respectively.

Log onto MotorRacingNetwork.com on Thursday at 1 p.m. (ET) to hear the complete MRN broadcast of the 1987 Twin 125 Qualifying Races from Daytona International Speedway, anchored by Barney Hall and Eli Gold. Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will feature a classic race broadcast each week on “Throwback Thursday” throughout the 2013 season at MotorRacingNetwork.com.

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