1985 Atlanta ARCA 500K (found footage of ARCA Permatex SuperCar Series race; 1985)

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This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its discussion of a fatal motor racing accident.


Davey Allison claimed victory at the event.

Status: Found

Date found: 4 Jul 2020

Found by: digitalmanchris

The 1985 Atlanta ARCA 500K (also known as the 1985 Georgia ARCA 500) was the fifth race of the 1985 ARCA Permatex SuperCar Series. Occurring on 2nd June at the Atlanta International Raceway, the race would ultimately be won by Davey Allison in a Buick. However, the event is overshadowed by the fatal accident of Ford driver Stuart Lyndon.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1985 Atlanta ARCA 500K was the third ARCA Permatex SuperCar Series race to commence at Atlanta International Raceway,[1] lasting over 300 miles.[2] It was also one of three Atlanta races to occur in the 1985 season;[3] the others were the Arca Georgia 100, which commenced on 3rd November 1984 and was won by Pontiac's Glenn Sears;[4] and the Georgia ARCA 150, which occurred on 16th March 1985 and was won by Pontiac's Kirk Bryant.[5] The final ARCA race held at Atlanta took place in March 2003.[1]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Mike Alexander winning the pole position in a Chevrolet with a speed of 166.203 mph.[2] Directly behind him was fellow Chevrolet driver David Sosebee, with Bryant lining up third.[2] Allison started sixth, while Lyndon qualified 33rd out of 40 competitors.[6][2]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1985 Atlanta ARCA 500K commenced on 2nd June.[2] Alexander maintained his lead from the start, holding it until he was passed by fellow Chevrolet driver Trevor Boys on lap 20.[2] Boys only maintained the first position for two laps, until Bryant took over.[2] Following a caution triggered by Lyndon's fatal accident, Bryant would remain in front until Sosebee moved by on lap 52.[2] He held first for 13 laps, before Boys took over on lap 65, leading another ten before Sosebee moved back in front.[2] During the mid stages, the battle for the lead became a somewhat open affair, before Alexander moved past Pontiac's Bob Dotter on lap 86 to regain the first position.[2]

Alexander would be passed by Chevrolet's Lee Raymond, who in turn dropped it a lap later on lap 127 to Boys.[2] Boys would lead for an uninterrupted 48 laps, only to be passed by Alexander on lap 175 and drop out of contention.[2] Alexander seemed likely to win, having led another 27 laps.[2] However, with three laps remaining, Allison performed the final lead change of the race.[2] He successfully defended the first position from Alexander to claim victory and $28,000 in prize money.[2] Alexander finished second, with Chevrolet's Grant Adcox a lap down in third.[2]

Death of Stuart Lyndon[edit | edit source]

On lap 32, Lyndon was exiting Turn 2.[7][8][9][6] Suddenly, the New Zealander lost control of his Ford at top speed, and crashed head-on into a dirt embankment.[6][7][8][9] The resulting collision shattered the Ford's roll cage, causing Lyndon to be thrown free into the windshield.[6][7][9][8] Lyndon was killed instantly from the crash, of which race winner Allison stated was the worst wreck he had ever witnessed.[8][6][7][9] Aged 33, Lyndon had achieved success within dirt racing in New Zealand, as well as in motorcycle speedway events in England.[8][6] After having moved to the United States, he became one of a select few New Zealanders to compete in American stock car events, with this race marking his second ARCA start.[8][6]

Lyndon was not the only driver to pass away at Atlanta after hitting a dirt embankment.[8] At the 1984 Atlanta Journal 500, Terry Schoonover died after he took slammed head-on into a dirt bank on the backstretch.[8] This made them the first two drivers to die at Atlanta International Raceway.[8] With dirt banks deemed more dangerous than concrete and steel counterparts, it was announced that the track would replace the dirt banks with concrete walls in a bid to make racing safer at the venue.[8][9]

Availability[edit | edit source]

While it is unknown whether a race broadcast was planned, the USA Network had aired several Atlanta ARCA races.[8][9] Additionally, Kirby Boone, Atlanta's PR Director, stated that a tape was reviewed, suggesting the event was indeed set to be televised on tape-delay.[8][9] However, likely because of Lyndon's fatal accident, the broadcast never materialised.[8][9]

However, on 4th July 2020, a near-three hour tape of the race was uploaded to YouTube by digitalmanchris.[9] Analysis of the video indicates it was primarily filmed from the frontstretch, and was likely to be utilised for the planned broadcast.[9]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

A near-three hour tape of the event.

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]