By Keith Waltz
Bill Elliott, a 28-year-old racer from Dawsonville, Georgia, scored his first NASCAR superspeedway victory on June 17, 1984, when he won the Miller High Life 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Elliott, who started from the pole in the No. 9 Coors Ford, took the lead from Geoff Bodine on a lap 194 restart and beat Dale Earnhardt to the checkered flag by two seconds in front of a reported record crowd of 64,000.
“I hated to see that last caution come out because I knew there were a lot of cars that were running awfully good,” Elliott said in Victory Lane. “I knew my car would run good for a while, and I didn’t know what they could do to beat me right there at the end. But we put on four new tires and the car ran super well.”
The milestone victory came on Father’s Day and was a special present for Elliott’s father, George.
“You couldn’t ask for anything finer. It’s just wonderful,” the proud father told CBS pit reporter Mike Joy moments after the checkered flag.
The 400-mile race featured 20 lead changes with Elliott setting the pace six times for 64 laps, including the final seven.
The victory was a preview of things to come as Elliott eventually won seven races – highlighted by a string of four straight – at the two-mile Michigan track.