We Remember: Quotes from North Wilkesboro
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Tyson Holly Farms 400, Sept. 29, 1996: “This is North Wilkesboro; I’m not supposed to win at North Wilkesboro.” -- Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon after winning the final premier series race at the .625-mile track.
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First Union 400, April 14, 1996: “I keep saying the best thing about this record is that it's happening while I'm with the best team I've ever been with. These guys just keep doing great things with the car and making my job easy.” -- Race winner Terry Labonte on tying Richard Petty's consecutive starts record at 513. Labonte would break the record the following week at Martinsville Speedway.
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Tyson Holly Farms 400, Oct. 1, 1995: “I didn't know if I could do it. I thought I could, but it's just something I have to go out and do. And I think today took a lot of doubt out of people’s mind.” -- Ernie Irvan after a sixth-place finish in his first premier series start since being critically injured in a crash at Michigan 14 months earlier.
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Tyson Holly Farms 400, Oct. 2, 1994: “We never adjusted the chassis all day long. We were surprised ourselves.” -- Race winner Geoff Bodine, who lapped the field to earn his 17th career victory. It was the last time a race winner was the only car on the lead lap at the finish in the NASCAR Cup Series.
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First Union 400, April 12, 1992: “They gave me all the room I needed, and if the shoe's ever on the other foot, I'm going to give … those guys that helped me all the room they need.” -- Davey Allison (on right in photo), first-time winner at North Wilkesboro. Allison had suffered a rib injury the previous week and was outfitted with a flak jacket and special seat for the race. Veteran Jimmy Hensley qualified the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford for Allison.
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Tyson Holly Farms 400, Sept. 29, 1991: “We did the best we could. I had the field covered all day. But on that last pit stop I felt the brakes going.” Harry Gant, lamenting brake issues that ended his spectacular run of four consecutive premier series wins, a streak that earned him the nickname “Mr. September.”
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Holly Farms 400, Oct. 15, 1989: “Dale and I got together … I felt like he came down on me. Hate that happened.” -- Ricky Rudd. Earnhardt was leading the race when Rudd shot inside of the Richard Childress Racing driver on the final lap. Contact shot both cars up out of the groove and into the wall, allowing Geoff Bodine to slip underneath and score the win.
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Holly Farms 400, Oct. 15, 1989: “I gave him the whole bottom lane; he knocked the (expletive) out of me. They ought to fine that (expletive), make him sit out the rest of the year.” -- Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt was leading the race when Rudd shot inside of the Richard Childress Racing driver on the final lap. Contact shot both cars up out of the groove and into the wall, allowing Geoff Bodine to slip underneath and score the win.
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First Union 400, April 16, 1989: “Everybody said 'That’s going to be the end of Dale Earnhardt; he won’t be able to run on them radial tires.' Well, we went out there and won the first race ever run on them.” – Team owner Richard Childress after his driver captured the first premier series race using the new Goodyear racing radial tire.
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Holly Farms 400, Oct. 16, 1988: “He gave me a tap and I gave him one back. I thought he would say something to me about it after the race, but he waved at me when I passed him on the victory lap and that was it.” – Race winner Rusty Wallace, who nudged Geoff Bodine out of the lead in the third turn, just moments after contact from Bodine had moved Wallace out of the top spot on the final lap.
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Holly Farms 400, Sept. 28, 1986: “I would put something in the paper, but I know those boys can't read.” -- Darrell Waltrip, race winner, lobs a jab at fellow driver Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing team as the battle for the championship began to heat up.
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Holly Farms 400, Sept. 21, 1980: “It seemed like the pavement was always worn out. In fact, one time we were up there and they'd put some kind of sealer on it. It got hot and that sealer turned to pure tar. You could actually hear the car, it sounded like you were running in rain, that’s how slick it was.” -- Eight-time champion crew chief Dale Inman, on left in the photo. Even the pace car spun and crashed, slamming into a parked race car after dropping onto pit road late in the race.
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Northwestern Bank 400, March 25, 1979: “I really liked the track and should have won there more than I did; I only won there four times. I won one race with a flat right-front tire in Bud Moore's car. Probably it was more than flat, I think the tire and wheel was gone. But it skidded across the finish line and got the win.” -- Bobby Allison, who beat Richard Petty to the finish line just as the right-front wheel broke on his No. 15 Ford.
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Wilkes 400, Oct. 1, 1972: “Me and Bobby got into it; we'd just come from Martinsville and had a little bit of a tag-team deal. At North Wilkesboro we finished it up. If there had been another lap in the race, somebody else would have won because neither one of our cars were going to make it back.” -- Richard Petty on a slam-bang finish with rival Bobby Allison.
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Wilkes 400, Oct. 1, 1967: “I didn’t get faster, they just got slower.” -- Richard Petty after his 10th consecutive premier series win and 27th victory of the season, both NASCAR records.
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Gwyn Staley 160, March 27, 1960: “I'll take care of (Lee) Petty when the right time comes, just as he did me.” -- Junior Johnson, a week after contact from Petty knocked him out of the lead for the win at Johnson's home track. Johnson is pictured at left with track founder Enoch Staley in 1960.