The Folds of Honor/Quik Trip 500, now the second race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, has a long and interesting history.
It was first run on October 30, 1960, as the Atlanta 500; Bobby Johns was the race winner. From 1975 until 2000, it was the last race of the year, and sometimes - most notably the 1992 Hooters 500 - it decided the series champion. The 2001 race was to be last, but it was supplanted by a race at what is now New Hampshire Motor Speedway due to a delay resulting from the September 11 attacks. In 2002, it was moved up a few weeks as Homestead-Miami Speedway became the season-ending site.
From 2004 to '08, it was part of what was then called the Chase, and from 2009 to '14 it was held on Labor Day weekend.
Since 2015, it has been the second race of the entire season, in about the same part of the schedule as another race day which AMS lost in the 2010-11 offseason in favor of Kentucky Speedway, which was new to the Cup series.
Atlanta Motor Speedway
500.5 miles/325 laps (stages: 85, 85, 155)
For this running, Cale Yarborough won the pole. Before the race, the command was given by Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, former President and First Lady of the United States. Carter was picked for two big reasons: he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, fitting in with the military charity Folds of Honor; and he once sold tickets at AMS.
A.J. Foyt caused the first caution when the engine blew on lap 26. A four-car crash including 1950s stars Lee Petty and Herb Thomas also occurred in stage 1, which Dale Earnhardt won.
Stage 2 included both another crash - which claimed mainstays Jeff Burton and Kenny Wallace - and a round of green-flag pit stops. Earnhardt won this stage as well.
A crash in stage 3 took out four more cars, two of which were champions from Wisconsin - Matt Kenseth (2003) and Alan Kulwicki (1992). Finally, Tony Stewart lost a front tire, skidded across half the backstretch, and Neil Bonnett could not escape the skidding car.
That last caution came with seven laps to go, forcing teams to decide whether to pit or not. Earnhardt, Tim Richmond, and Bill Elliott decided to stay out, while Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte among others decided to pit. However, staying out proved to the winning call in the final three-lap segment. The seven-time champion won the race and swept all the prizes on this day!
Tim Richmond finished a surprising second. He never won at AMS and had an average finish of 16.71, nowhere near the top of the list. Dave Marcis (average finish: 21.32) managed an eighth-place run. On the other hand, three-time winner Neil Bonnett and Kenseth (average finish: 10.76) finished closer to the bottom of the pack.
Top 10 after stage 1: Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott, Neil Bonnett, David Pearson, Mark Martin, Bobby Allison
Top 10 after stage 2: Dale Earnhardt, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Alan Kulwicki, Cale Yarborough, Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Allison
Full-field results with point totals:
- Dale Earnhardt - #3 Nationwide Chevrolet - 60
- Tim Richmond - #25 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet - 35
- Bill Elliott - #9 Cessna Chevrolet - 39
- David Pearson - #21 Motorcraft Ford - 36
- Cale Yarborough - #11 FedEx Toyota - 36
- Jimmie Johnson - #48 Lowe's Chevrolet - 47
- Dale Jarrett - #88 UPS Ford - 33
- Dave Marcis - #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet - 29
- Richard Petty - #43 STP Ford - 44
- Mark Martin - #6 Advocare Ford - 29
- Bobby Labonte - #18 M&M's Toyota - 33
- Jeff Gordon - #24 AARP Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet - 33
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - #8 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chev. - 30
- Tim Flock - #38 Love's Truck Stops Ford - 23
- Fireball Roberts - #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet -22
- Davey Allison - #28 Havoline/Chevron Ford - 21
- Ricky Rudd - #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet - 20
- Buck Baker - #2 Miller High Life Ford - 19
- Ned Jarrett - #16 KFC Ford - 18
- Bobby Allison - #12 Mobil 1 Ford - 19
- Terry Labonte - #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet - 16
- Kurt Busch - #97 John Deere Ford - 15
- Darrell Waltrip - #17 DeWalt Toyota - 14
- Tony Stewart - #20 The Home Depot Toyota - 13
- Neil Bonnett - #1 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet - 16
- Benny Parsons - #41 Target Chevrolet - 11
- Buddy Baker - #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet - 10
- Matt Kenseth - #34 Dockside Logistics Ford - 18
- Joe Weatherly - #4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet - 8
- Harry Gant - #33 Dow Chemical Chevrolet - 7
- Alan Kulwicki - #7 WRL Construction Chevrolet - 11
- Sterling Marlin - #13 Geico Chevrolet - 5
- Jeff Burton - #99 Xfinity X1 Ford - 4
- Rusty Wallace - #27 AutoTrader Ford - 3
- Lee Petty - #42 Kroger ClickList Ford - 2
- Kenny Wallace - #15 NAPA Chevrolet - 1
- Curtis Turner - #40 Ol' Smoky Moonshine Chevrolet - 1
- Adam Petty - #44 Bubba Burger Ford - 1
- Herb Thomas - #23 Dr Pepper Toyota - 1
- A.J. Foyt - #14 Jimmy John's Chevrolet - 1
Top 16 in points after this race:
- Dale Earnhardt - 118 (2 wins)
- Richard Petty - 90
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - 85
- Jeff Gordon - 82
- Bill Elliott - 81
- Cale Yarborough - 81
- Jimmie Johnson - 77
- David Pearson - 73
- Tim Richmond - 63
- Dale Jarrett - 58
- Davey Allison - 56
- Dave Marcis - 55
- Ned Jarrett - 50
- Kurt Busch - 48
- Bobby Allison - 48
- Fireball Roberts - 44