1986 Twin 125s (lost footage of NASCAR Daytona 500 qualifying races; existence unconfirmed; 1986)

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1986twin125s1.jpg

Geoff Bodine and his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, who would go on to win the 1986 Daytona 500.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

The 1986 Twin 125s are two races at the Daytona National Speedway that served as qualifying events for the 1986 Daytona 500. Both occurred on 13th February, where the first race was won by Bill Elliott in a Ford, while Dale Earnhardt driving a Chevrolet was victorious in the second. Earnhardt's win was the first Twin 125s victory for Richard Childress Racing, serving as a prelude to Earnhardt and the team going on to win every qualifying race during the 1990s.

Background[edit | edit source]

The Twin 125s are unique races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. They consist of two qualifying heats that determine the majority of the 40 competitors for the Daytona 500.[1] It would also allow for the racers to analyze how their vehicles performed during the heats and modify them accordingly for the main event.[2] Among those competing was Elliott, who was not only seeking to defend his Daytona 500 title but also aiming to replicate his 1985 Twin 125s win.[3] Prior to the races, two drivers had already qualified for the Daytona 500, with Elliot winning the pole position and Geoff Bodine in a Chevrolet qualifying second after setting the best time trial performances.[4]

The Races[edit | edit source]

In the first Twin 125s race, Elliott was victorious once again and claimed $22,000 in prize money, ahead of Bobby Allison in a Buick and Terry Labonte in an Oldsmobile in second and third respectively.[5] Allison was leading Elliott heading into the final lap when they came across to lap Allison's son Davey. Davey attempted to move his Chevrolet away from the leaders but experienced poor handling caused by accident damage to the front spoiler, resulting in him unintentionally blocking his father, giving Elliott the chance the pass for the victory. Elliott was unsure whether he would have won without Davey's accidental block, but Bobby defended his son, believing Elliott was just sitting back and would have passed regardless of Davey's presence.[4]

For race 2, Earnhardt dominated proceedings, leading 33 of the 50 laps to claim victory and the $22,000, ahead of Bodine and Darrell Waltrip in a Chevrolet.[6] Earnhardt had a strong start to the race, moving from seventh to first in less than two laps. On the final lap, Bodine tried a slingshot overtaking move but was thwarted this attempt by driving away from his opponent. Earnhardt believed changing all four tyres rather than just two in the pits gave him the upper hand. Meanwhile, Bodine and Harry Gant complained that Earnhardt's car was leaking oil, which blew onto their windscreens and obscured both drivers' visions. Bodine nevertheless accepted defeat, stating that he should not have backed off on the final attempt and that he should have stayed closer to Earnhardt before making the move.[4]

With the starters and race order decided, the 1986 Daytona 500 commenced on 17th February. It saw Bodine redeem his Twin 125s loss with a victory at the main event, ahead of Labonte and Waltrip. Elliott could only manage 13th, two laps down from the leaders, while Earnhardt's engine expired three laps before the end.[7] Nevertheless, Earnhardt's 1986 Twin 125s win served as a prelude towards him and Richard Childress Racing winning ten consecutive Twin 125s from 1990 to 1999.[8][9]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to NASCAR on TV and Racing-Reference, both Twin 125s were allegedly televised on tape delay by CBS.[10][11] Ultimately, whereas footage of many Twin 125s from the 1980s has since publicly resurfaced, the 1986 heats are completely inaccessible as of the present day. However, there is no information on when the 1986 heats were aired, and with NASCAR on TV also placing the races under its "Unconfirmed broadcasts" section,[10] full confirmation that a CBS broadcast occurred has not yet been achieved.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]