MRN Flashback: 1984 Busch 500


In late August 1984, Terry Labonte opened the final 10-race stretch of the Cup Series schedule with a short-track win at Bristol. (Photo: ISC Archives)


In August 1984, with the seasons about to change from summer to fall, Terry Labonte opened the final 10-race stretch of the Cup Series schedule with a short-track victory at Bristol Motor Speedway.

He started sixth and led 144 of the 500 laps – including the final 124 trips around the high-banked half-mile, notching his second victory of the season that helped pave the way to the first of his two championships.

Labonte’s No. 44 Billy Hagan-owned Chevrolet beat runner-up Bobby Allison to the checkered flag by 1.44 seconds.  They were the only two drivers to complete all 500 laps.  The win did not come easily for Labonte, who was involved in two wrecks.

He and Dale Earnhardt banged fenders early in the event, triggering a four-car crash.

"We were racing pretty close," Labonte said.  "I guess he moved up and I moved down, and we hit.  I was lucky to come out of that one."

Labonte survived another scrape with Neil Bonnett inside the final 50 laps en route to the win.  Dick Brooks finished third with Dave Marcis and Harry Gant completing the top five.  Earnhardt placed 10th.  Pole sitter Geoff Bodine led 86 laps but finished only 22nd, one position ahead of Bonnett.

Labonte would go on to claim the 1984 Cup Series crown by 65 points over Gant.  He won his second championship twelve years later, then driving for Hendrick Motorsports.

Visit on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) to hear the complete broadcast of the 1984 Busch 500 from Bristol, Tenn., anchored by Barney Hall and Mike Joy.  Motor Racing Network – "The Voice of NASCAR" – features a classic race each week on "Throwback Thursday" only at

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