1988 Miller High Life 500 (partially lost footage of NASCAR Winston Cup Series race; 1988)

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


Program for the race.

Status: Partially Lost

The 1988 Miller High Life 500 was the 13th race of the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Occurring on 19th June at the Pocono International Raceway, the race would ultimately be won by Geoffrey Bodine in a Chevrolet. However, the race is most known for Bobby Allison's career-ending accident on the opening lap.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1988 Miller High Life 500 was the 7th running of the event, with the annual race typically lasting around 500 miles in length.[1] It was one of two 1988 Winston Cup races at Pocono International Raceway, the other being the 1988 AC Spark Plug 500,[2] which occurred on 24th July and was won by Bill Elliott in a Ford.[3] The event would carry on into 2021 as the Pocono Organics CBD 325, before it was dropped for the 2022 season.[4][5]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Alan Kulwicki winning the pole position in a Ford with a speed of 158.806 mph.[1] Directly behind him were the Chevrolets of Ken Schrader and Geoffrey Bodine, in second and third respectively.[1] Buick's Bobby Allison qualified 28th out of 40 competitors.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1988 Miller High Life 500 commenced on 19th June.[1] Schrader shot into the lead on the first lap, holding onto it for 34 consecutive laps before dropping it to Bodine.[1] On the first lap, Allison crashed head-on into the outside barrier after a tyre burst, causing him to spin heading into Turn 2.[6] He was then t-boned by the Chevrolet of Jocko Maggiacomo, knocking both drivers out.[6][1] While Maggiacomo recovered, Allison suffered from head injuries so severe that he was even given the last rites by a priest at a local hospital.[7][6] While he survived, Allison was in a vegetive state, requiring him to stay in hospital for 108 days, receive multiple surgeries and engage in rehab to recover as much of his memory as possible and re-learn daily tasks.[7][6] Ultimately, the crash ended his career, having officially won 84 Cup Series races and the 1983 Winston Cup title.[7][6]

Meanwhile, Bodine held the lead from laps 35 to 88, before Schrader took over until lap 107.[1] From there, the battle for the lead became an open competition, with few of the 17 lead changes lasting for more than ten laps.[1] In the remaining stages, Schrader overtook Bodine for the first position on lap 158, but dropped it to Pontiac's Rusty Wallace ten laps later, eventually falling further down to finish 9th.[1] Wallace defended his lead for another 23 laps before Bodine achieved the final lead change on lap 191.[1] He would cross the line with a 8.18-second margin lead to claim victory and $51,200 in prize money.[1] Pontiac's Michael Waltrip pipped Wallace for second, with Wallace holding on for third.[1]

Availability[edit | edit source]

A 90 minute broadcast of the race can be found on YouTube, which also includes Allison's accident. However, as detailed by nascarman History in his video Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts, there is also an obscure tape of the race that was broadcast by Financial News Network (FNN) at 6pm that same evening, lasting two-and-a-half hours. This airing has yet to publicly resurface.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

The 90-minute broadcast of the race.
Top 10 LOST NASCAR TV Broadcasts detailing the FNN broadcast (2:40-3:03).

Image[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]