DARLINGTON, SC – The Elliott name has made quite an impression on Darlington Raceway over the years, most recently with Chase Elliott winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 last month.
Now his dad, Bill, is a 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee, which brings us back to one of the most memorable moments in Darlington Raceway history.
In 1985, Bill became the first driver to win the “Winston Million” after taking the checkered flag for the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway. The Winston Million was a $1 million prize for a driver that won three of the “big four” races that year, the Daytona 500, Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and Southern 500 at Darlington.
Elliott had already won the Daytona 500 and Winston 500 earlier that year, but it was his storied victory in the Southern 500 that gave him the win he needed for the million-dollar prize.
Elliott made 52 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway with five victories (including both races in 1985), 22 top-five finishes and five poles. He led a total of 980 laps at the track Too Tough To Tame.
In fact, Elliott’s Ford Thunderbird currently sits in the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum, giving fans the chance to see his winning car on a daily basis.
Ironically, the museum that holds Elliott’s car was formerly called the Joe Weatherly Stock Car Hall of Fame and Museum. Weatherly joined Elliott in the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee class today.
In the early 1960’s, Weatherly kept pushing his good friend, Darlington Raceway President Bob Colvin, to construct a stock car museum on the grounds of the famed racetrack. After Weatherly’s untimely death in 1964, Colvin spearheaded the opening of stock car’s first museum at Darlington and named it after his good friend, which stood for decades.
Weatherly also won two NSCS races at Darlington Raceway in 1960 and 1963.
Fred Lorenzen (two NSCS wins at Darlington in 1961 and 1964), Wendell Scott and Rex White were also inducted into the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.