The NASCAR Cup Series will return to the Nashville area Sunday for the first time since 1984 when it pays its inaugural visit to Nashville Superspeedway in nearby Lebanon, Tenn.
With that in mind, SPEED SPORT turns back the clock to July 14, 1984 when the final Cup Series event was run at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, which was then known as Nashville Int’l Raceway.
Here is the race report from the July 18, 1984 issue of National Speed Sport News:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Geoff Bodine did a masterly job of driving during the final 75 laps of the Pepsi 420 Saturday night to hold off Darrell Waltrip and win his second NASCAR Winston Cup Series race of the year and of his career by one car length.
Waltrip, who had won five of the last six races at Nashville Int’l Raceway, tried repeatedly to find a way to get around Bodine, but Bodine took away the low route.
When he did that, he forced Waltrip to try to go high to get around his Chevrolet rival. But the two-time Winston Cup champion wasn’t able to stick well enough in the higher groove to get beside Bodine, although he tried over and over again to do so.
While Bodine dominated the event as he led six times, for 326 laps, he was forced to drive the race of his life when the third and final caution flag came out on lap 334 after Trevor Boys blew an engine. Prior to this, Bodine held a 12.6-second lead over Waltrip, with Bobby Allison running just in front of Bodine, nearly a lap down.
When the yellow flag came out, it allowed Waltrip and Allison to catch up.
When the green flag reappeared on lap 345, Allison’s hopes for his third win of the year disappeared when the right-front tire on his Buick developed a leak, forcing him to pit on lap 358.
Bodine still had Waltrip to worry about. Waltrip kept the pressure on, never allowing Bodine to rest.
Bodine was equal to the task, scoring the biggest win of his young Grand National career.
“Just unbelievable,” said an elated Bodine. “One of my heroes (Richard Petty) won his 200tb race last week. I think my second win feels just as good as his 200th.”
The 34-year-old driver said crew chief Harry Hyde acted as his coach during the final 20 laps. “He kept saying, ‘Stay low, stay low. He can’t go high.’ And be was right.
“This is just super. To beat Waltrip on his home track. Unbelievable.”
Waltrip said he had no excuses.
“My car ran as good as it has in the four years I’ve driven for Junior (Johnson),” Waltrip said.
“Harry and Geoff just had their car running better. I tried to get around Geoff high, but my tires wouldn’t allow me.”
Grand National point leader Dale Earnhardt finished third, followed by Ron Bouchard, each one lap down. Allison was fifth, followed by Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott.
Joe Ruttman, Harry Gant and Neil Bonnett completed the top 10.
Allison picked up the Chameleon Change Award, improving 13 positions and the Timex Timeliest Move Award went to Ronnie Thomas.