MRN Flashback: 1981 Budweiser 400

B.Parsons

Benny Parsons is all smiles in Victory Lane after winning the 1981 Budweiser 400 at Texas World Speedway. (Photo: ISC Archives)

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On June 7, 1981, Benny Parsons and defending Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt staged NASCAR’s version of a “Wild West Shootout” at Texas World Speedway.

Between them, they exchanged the lead seven times over the final 40 laps before Parsons prevailed for his second win of the season in the Budweiser 400.  His margin of victory over Earnhardt was a half-second.

And in 1981, credit for the victory went to the same group that frequently receives it in 2013: the pit crew.

“They got me out fastest all day,” Parsons said, “not 95 percent of the time but 100 percent of the time.”

Parsons started fourth in his No. 15 Bud Moore-owned Ford and led 58 of the 200 laps, including the final four circuits.  Earnhardt said he was slowed by a vibrating tire in the closing laps.  Bobby Allison finished third with Richard Petty and Dave Marcis completing the top five.

Texas native Terry Labonte won the pole but was sidelined by a wreck two-thirds of the way through the race and finished 23rd.  Earnhardt and Allison were the only two drivers running on the lead lap with Parsons at the finish.

There were 35 lead changes among nine drivers and just five cautions for 31 laps.  Parsons went on to claim one more victory that season and finished 10th in points.

Visit MotorRacingNetwork.com on Thursday at 1 p.m. (ET) to hear the complete broadcast of the 1981 Budweiser 400, anchored by Barney Hall and Mike Joy.  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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