1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
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Champions | Seasons
Waltrip, the Winston Cup Series champion in 1981
Waltrip, the Winston Cup Series champion in 1981

The 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Series was the thirty-third season of professional stock car racing in the United States and the 10th modern-era Cup Season. It was the first year of the Gen 3 car. Because of the energy crisis, manufacturers were downsizing their cars to be more fuel-efficient, which NASCAR reflected by mandating a 110-inch wheelbase that still exists today. The season began at Riverside International Raceway with the first Winston Western 500 on January 11, 1981 and ended with the same event on November 22. Darrell Waltrip won his first championship with point margin of fifty-three points over Bobby Allison. Ron Bouchard was named Rookie of the Year.

Teams and drivers

Team Make No. Driver Car Owner Crew Chief
Arrington Racing Dodge Mirada 67 Buddy Arrington Buddy Arrington
Benfield Racing Pontiac Grand Prix
Buick Regal
98 Johnny Rutherford (R) Ron Benfield Buddy Parrott
Bud Moore Engineering Ford Thunderbird 15 Benny Parsons Bud Moore Bud Moore
Cliff Stewart Racing Pontiac Grand Prix 5 Joe Millikan Cliff Stewart Darrell Bryant
DiGard Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo 88 Ricky Rudd Bill Gardner Gary Nelson
Donlavey Racing Ford Thunderbird 90 Jody Ridley Junie Donlavey
Ellington Racing Oldsmobile Cutlass
Buick Regal
1 Buddy Baker Hoss Ellington Runt Pittman
Gordon Racing Buick Regal 24 Cecil Gordon Cecil Gordon
Morgan Shepherd (R)
Hagan Racing Buick Regal 44 Terry Labonte Billy Hagan Jake Elder
Howard & Egerton Racing Buick Regal 86 Elliott Forbes-Robinson (R) Richard Howard
Hylton Racing Pontiac Grand Prix 48 James Hylton James Hylton
Osterlund Racing16 Pontiac Grand Prix 2 Dale Earnhardt 20 Rod Osterlund Doug Richert
Jim Stacy Racing15 Buick Regal Jim Stacy
Joe Ruttman (R) 11 Dale Inman
Junior Johnson & Associates Buick Regal 11 Darrell Waltrip Junior Johnson Tim Brewer
41 Richard Childress 1
Langley Racing Ford Thunderbird 64 Tommy Gale Elmo Langley
Lennie Pond Racing Buick Regal 68 Lennie Pond Lennie Pond
M. C. Anderson Racing Buick Regal 27 Cale Yarborough M. C. Anderson David Anderson
Mach 1 Racing Pontiac Grand Prix 22 Stan Barrett (R) Hal Needham
33 Harry Gant Travis Carter
Marcis Auto Racing Buick Regal 71 Dave Marcis Dave Marcis Claude Queen
McDuffie Racing Pontiac Grand Prix 70 J. D. McDuffie J. D. McDuffie
Means Racing Pontiac Grand Prix 52 Jimmy Means Jimmy Means
Elliott Racing Ford Thunderbird 9 Bill Elliott 13 George Elliott Ernie Elliott
Petty Enterprises Buick Regal 42 Richard Petty 1 Richard Petty Mike Beam
Kyle Petty 30
43 Kyle Petty 1 Steve Hmiel
Richard Petty 30
Race Hill Farm Team Buick Regal 47 Ron Bouchard Jack Beebe Bob Johnson
RahMoc Enterprises Buick Regal 75 Gary Balough (R) Bob Rahilly Bob Rahilly
Ranier-Lundy Racing Pontiac LeMans
Buick Regal
28 Bobby Allison Harry Ranier Waddell Wilson
Richard Childress Racing Pontiac Grand Prix 3 Richard Childress 20 Richard Childress Kirk Shelmerdine
Dale Earnhardt 11
8 Kirk Shelmerdine 1
Rogers Racing Buick Regal 37 Mike Alexander (R) Bob Rogers Raymond Kelly
Tim Richmond (R)
Speed Racing Oldsmobile Cutlass 66 Lake Speed Lake Speed
Thomas Racing Pontiac Grand Prix 25 Ronnie Thomas Ronnie Thomas
Ulrich Racing Buick Regal 99 D. K. Ulrich D. K. Ulrich
Wawak Racing Buick Regal 94 Bobby Wawak Bobby Wawak
Wood Brothers Racing Ford Thunderbird 21 Neil Bonnett Glen Wood Leonard Wood

Season schedule and recap

Round Date Event Track Winner
1 January 11 Winston Western 500 Riverside International Raceway Bobby Allison
February 8 Busch Clash Daytona International Speedway Darrell Waltrip
February 12 UNO Twin 125 Qualifier Bobby Allison
Darrell Waltrip
February 13 Daytona 500 Consolation Race Lake Speed
2 February 15 Daytona 500 Richard Petty
3 February 22 Richmond 400 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway Darrell Waltrip
4 March 1 Carolina 500 North Carolina Motor Speedway Darrell Waltrip
5 March 15 Coca-Cola 500 Atlanta International Raceway Cale Yarborough
6 March 29 Valleydale 500 Bristol International Raceway Darrell Waltrip
7 April 5 Northwestern Bank 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway Richard Petty
8 April 12 CRC Rebel 500 Darlington International Raceway Darrell Waltrip
9 April 26 Virginia 500 Martinsville Speedway Morgan Shepherd
10 May 3 Winston 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway Bobby Allison
11 May 9 Melling Tool 420 Nashville Speedway Benny Parsons
12 May 17 Mason-Dixon 500 Dover Downs International Speedway Jody Ridley
13 May 24 World 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway Bobby Allison
14 June 7 Budweiser 400 Texas World Speedway Benny Parsons
15 June 14 Hodgdon 400 Riverside International Raceway Darrell Waltrip
16 June 21 Gabriel 400 Michigan International Speedway Bobby Allison
17 July 4 Firecracker 400 Daytona International Speedway Cale Yarborough
18 July 11 Busch Nashville 420 Nashville Speedway Darrell Waltrip
19 July 26 Mt. Dew 500 Pocono Raceway Darrell Waltrip
20 August 2 Talladega 500 Alabama International Motor Speedway Ron Bouchard
21 August 16 Champion Spark Plug 400 Michigan International Speedway Richard Petty
22 August 22 Busch 500 Bristol International Raceway Darrell Waltrip
23 September 7 Southern 500 Darlington International Raceway Neil Bonnett
24 September 13 Wrangler SanforSet 400 Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway Benny Parsons
25 September 20 CRC Chemicals 500 Dover Downs International Speedway Neil Bonnett
26 September 27 Old Dominion 500 Martinsville Speedway Darrell Waltrip
27 October 4 Holly Farms 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway Darrell Waltrip
28 October 11 National 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway Darrell Waltrip
29 November 1 American 500 North Carolina Motor Speedway Darrell Waltrip
30 November 8 Atlanta Journal 500 Atlanta International Raceway Neil Bonnett
31 November 22 Winston Western 500 Riverside International Raceway Bobby Allison

Season summary

Race reports

Final point standings

Further information: List of NASCAR points scoring systems

Pos. # Driver Make RSD DAY RCH RCK ATL BRI NWB DAR MAR TAL NSH DOV CLT COL RSD MCH DAY NSH POC TAL MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWB CLT RCK ATL RSD Pts
1 11 Darrell Waltrip Buick
Chevrolet
17 36 1 1 36 1 3 1 26 3 2 12 9 30 1 7 10 1 1 2 2 1 2 3 2 1 1 1 1 2 6 4,880
2 28 Bobby Allison Buick
Chevrolet
Pontiac
1 2 23 6 4 3 2 9 13 1 3 2 1 3 29 1 28 2 25 5 7 4 9 5 3 10 2 2 2 4 1 4,827
3 17
47
48
12
33
Harry Gant Chevrolet
Buick
Pontiac
Oldsmobile
15 23 6 18 2 8 5 2 4 34 22 16 2 10 31 2 2 8 4 4 4 11 14 2 23 2 24 41 3 20 8 4,210
4 44 Terry Labonte Buick
Chevrolet
2 40 26 21 19 7 7 14 5 7 6 8 14 23 22 11 8 5 13 3 14 3 4 4 29 9 30 23 7 7 3 4,052
5 90
79
Jody Ridley Ford
Oldsmobile
7 7 8 17 6 6 28 7 6 31 25 1 20 6 7 4 38 10 15 8 12 20 12 9 11 21 7 15 10 5 9 4,002
6 88 Ricky Rudd Buick
Oldsmobile
Chevrolet
19 3 2 31 22 2 6 11 3 4 5 5 4 24 5 30 40 4 6 23 3 2 23 12 5 8 25 3 18 38 40 3,988
7 2
3
Dale Earnhardt Pontiac 3 5 7 26 3 28 10 17 25 8 20 3 18 2 2 5 35 7 11 29 9 27 6 6 15 26 4 25 9 24 4 3,975
8 42
43
Richard Petty Chevrolet
Buick
5 1 3 3 38 29 1 33 28 39 4 19 24 4 3 6 3 9 2 40 1 24 30 11 10 18 21 30 4 26 7 3,880
9 71 Dave Marcis Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
Dodge
Buick
Chrysler
Pontiac
28 15 22 15 27 31 4 3 11 14 10 31 35 5 9 29 13 25 33 10 11 9 3 19 8 14 16 40 12 28 25 3,507
10 15 Benny Parsons Ford 16 31 5 24 5 5 21 5 23 36 1 32 37 1 20 3 39 3 3 13 26 6 39 1 34 24 29 38 6 36 27 3,449
11 67 Buddy Arrington Dodge 9 26 16 37 14 13 29 13 8 17 9 7 15 13 26 12 17 28 16 41 35 10 37 13 14 11 10 10 14 17 24 3,381
12 42 Kyle Petty Buick
Chevrolet
20 32 24 8 41 11 22 25 15 30 7 20 5 29 6 21 6 6 8 7 19 28 34 22 7 19 18 20 37 8 37 3,335
13 5
02
24
98
96
Morgan Shepherd Pontiac
Buick
4 28 8 4 9 34 1 23 8 6 6 31 21 15 20 13 29 36 34 19 16 29 12 28 6 8 27 31 13 3,261
14 52
8
Jimmy Means Chevrolet
Pontiac
Dodge
18 21 14 29 21 14 14 23 12 27 14 9 23 19 28 28 18 15 19 16 25 12 38 16 19 15 9 12 20 35 3,142
15 64
79
40
Tommy Gale Ford
Oldsmobile
Buick
17 18 19 18 15 19 18 18 11 17 14 17 12 30 36 19 21 31 18 21 15 29 17 24 13 14 22 13 22 26 3,140
16 99
12
75
Tim Richmond Chevrolet
Buick
Oldsmobile
29 30 17 16 26 10 18 12 14 6 12 7 33 14 15 12 9 34 30 8 22 14 9 20 13 18 22 21 20 3,091
17 70 J. D. McDuffie Chevrolet
Pontiac
23 24 10 33 11 22 16 16 30 22 16 23 13 11 12 22 12 20 18 16 13 21 21 28 12 17 23 11 2,996
18 66
17
Lake Speed Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
Buick
Pontiac
34 DNQ 12 9 35 9 23 7 18 24 28 8 16 33 22 27 6 15 7 13 20 27 22 27 34 31 14 16 2,817
19 48 James Hylton Chevrolet
Pontiac
Buick
11 34 29 20 25 15 19 17 19 21 18 16 25 19 23 22 16 22 39 27 16 26 18 32 15 26 19 17 2,753
20 75
5
Joe Millikan Chevrolet
Buick
Oldsmobile
Pontiac
13 9 9 7 15 17 26 10 29 38 DNS 8 31 23 17 18 8 21 5 3 35 19 10 5 2,682
21 47 Ron Bouchard Buick
Pontiac
24 8 27 9 20 27 26 10 9 10 1 29 5 11 25 4 6 5 5 11 39 10 2,594
22 21 Neil Bonnett Ford 27 33 4 28 29 2 32 13 29 4 9 30 34 37 28 1 1 4 29 35 1 33 2,449
23 24
19
94
40
Cecil Gordon Oldsmobile
Buick
Pontiac
Chevrolet
36 37 19 23 37 21 31 21 24 15 19 15 18 13 27 25 29 21 17 24 30 23 26 19 15 2,320
24 27 Cale Yarborough Oldsmobile
Buick
8 2 1 26 21 24 10 3 8 1 5 28 17 10 13 31 25 3 2,201
25 3
41
Richard Childress Chevrolet
Pontiac
Buick
4 38 13 22 17 16 17 31 22 13 13 17 19 14 18 19 21 17 23 26 39 2,144
26 25
40
Ronnie Thomas Pontiac
Buick
Chevrolet
28 21 11 31 18 12 20 31 26 24 22 20 34 25 14 35 18 27 24 20 27 17 32 2,138
27 1 Buddy Baker Oldsmobile
Buick
4 5 40 6 2 33 13 4 7 32 5 5 29 37 16 9 1,904
28 6
2
Joe Ruttman Buick
Pontiac
10 29 7 9 29 22 6 21 15 30 6 17 26 19 5 25 2 1,851
29 37
24
Mike Alexander Oldsmobile
Buick
13 33 12 11 36 10 21 11 21 27 32 7 27 17 35 10 25 20 32 DNQ 1,784
30 9 Bill Elliott Ford 6 9 4 40 40 35 34 11 8 7 33 8 6 1,442
31 94 Bobby Wawak Buick
Pontiac
DNQ 14 42 30 24 19 10 18 31 26 33 19 31 24 36 DNQ 1,212
32 45
40
99
98
64
D. K. Ulrich Buick
Oldsmobile
19 13 22 23 4 32 27 20 23 31 21 18 14 17 27 1,191
33 98 Johnny Rutherford Pontiac
Buick
10 12 12 28 17 5 13 33 31 27 29 37 1,140
34 68
24
Lennie Pond Buick 27 11 11 11 24 14 17 27 16 25 23 36 1,100
35 86
99
Elliott Forbes-Robinson Buick
Oldsmobile
8 25 10 39 27 16 10 35 23 12 23 1,020
36 22 Stan Barrett Pontiac 13 36 16 35 32 11 18 26 14 9 842
37 20 Rick Newsom Chevrolet 27 32 20 23 33 DNQ 28 26 22 22 768
38 79
25
40
75
19
8
Dick May Oldsmobile
Dodge
Buick
DNQ 24 9 25 16 31 15 36 19 25 DNQ 754
39 4 Connie Saylor Oldsmobile DNQ 37 12 14 33 40 11 12 664
40 75 Gary Balough Chevrolet
Buick
12 25 18 DNS 25 10 17 DNS 24 32 34 19 656
41 62 Rick Wilson Oldsmobile DNQ 35 25 42 37 42 20 13 11 639
42 02 Mark Martin Pontiac 27 27 11 7 3 615
43 7
50
Bruce Hill Buick 39 23 26 28 41 16 30 33 DNQ 596
44 12
77
Donnie Allison Oldsmobile 12 34 29 5 11 38 527
45 23
01
Geoff Bodine Pontiac
Buick
22 30 23 7 30 420
46 92
64
Joe Fields Pontiac
Buick
28 25 16 22 15 DNQ 23 418
47 13 Jack Ingram Ford 34 37 38 32 13 377
48 18 Randy Ogden Oldsmobile DNQ 22 15 34 24 367
49 38 Don Waterman Oldsmobile
Buick
10 23 15 351
50 78 Jim Robinson Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
6 10 32 351
51 98
72
Rusty Wallace Pontiac
Buick
30 21 6 29 323
52 17 Tommy Houston Buick
Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
20 20 12 DNQ 27 19 12 11 315
53 73 Bill Schmitt Buick 22 24 14 314
53 93 Don Whittington Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
14 14 35 300
55 41
13
Dick Brooks Buick
Ford
16 15 36 21 13 294
56 36 H. B. Bailey Pontiac DNQ 15 36 16 40 288
57 17 Lowell Cowell Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
28 17 28 22 288
58 45
0
Roy Smith Oldsmobile
Buick
31 8 30 285
59 13 Don Puskarich Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
32 17 21 279
60 17 Glenn Jarrett Buick
Chevrolet
19 25 27 276
61 51 A. J. Foyt Oldsmobile 35 7 32 271
62 26 Butch Lindley Chevrolet 25 24 27 271
63 55 Tommy Ellis Chevrolet 26 30 4 33 224
64 37 Don Sprouse Oldsmobile DNQ 20 15 221
65 53
40
Slick Johnson Chevrolet
Buick
25 34 32 35 216
66 01 Hershel McGriff Dodge
Buick
33 25 38 206
67 99
16
Chuck Bown Buick 39 28 15 197
68 79 Junior Miller Oldsmobile 26 DNQ 20 188
69 16
12
01
David Pearson Chevrolet
Oldsmobile
Buick
29 30 32 8 25 8 154
70 97 Bob Schacht Oldsmobile 32 30 DNQ 140
71 94
60
Bob Riley Buick
Pontiac
30 32 33 131
72 81 John Borneman Chevrolet 12 127
73 74 Gary Kershaw Buick 12 127
74 16 Jim Bown Oldsmobile
Buick
32 36 122
75 8 Rick O'Dell Buick 16 115
76 19 Ronnie Sanders Buick 19 DNQ 109
77 0 Delma Cowart Buick 18 106
78 17
24
Steve Spencer Buick
Chevrolet
30 20 18 103
79 94
74
Henry Jones Buick
Pontiac
DNQ 20 DNQ 103
80 03
69
Bob Bondurant Oldsmobile
Pontiac
21 18 100
81 19 Bill Dennis Buick 21 100
82 40
25
Joe Booher Buick
Pontiac
24 20 42 22 97
83 07 Gene Thonesen Buick 22 97
84 85 Mark Stahl Ford 23 94
85 57
75
Bill Elswick Oldsmobile
Buick
11 13 24 91
86 94
17
Steve Pfeifer Chevrolet 24 14 91
87 64 John Gunn Chevrolet 25 88
88 23 Charlie Glotzbach Buick 26 85
88 08 Rick McCray Chevrolet 26 85
90 17 Roger Hamby Chevrolet 27 82
91 31 Billie Harvey Pontiac 41 41 DNQ DNQ 80
92 17 Mike Potter Chevrolet
Buick
35 15 26 27 26 28 79
93 99
14
Sterling Marlin Buick
Chevrolet
26 28 79
94 29 Dave Dion Ford 28 79
95 51 Scott Miller Pontiac 29 76
96 66 Elmo Langley Oldsmobile 29 76
97 45
50
Baxter Price Buick
Chevrolet
DNQ 30 34 73
98 9
1
Jimmy Insolo Buick 30 36 73
99 06 Ernie Cline Pontiac 30 73
100 63 Jocko Maggiacomo Oldsmobile 31 70
101 38 Sandy Satullo II Buick 31 70
102 46 Travis Tiller Chevrolet DNQ 32 64
103 35 Pat Mintey Chevrolet 34 61
104 2W Robert Tartaglia Chevrolet 35 58
105 99 Kevin Housby Oldsmobile 36 55
106 39 Blackie Wangerin Ford 42 DNQ 37
Ineligible for NASCAR Cup driver points
Pos. # Driver Make RSD DAY RCH RCK ATL BRI NWB DAR MAR TAL NSH DOV CLT COL RSD MCH DAY NSH POC TAL MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWB CLT RCK ATL RSD Pts
107 38
17
77
John Anderson Buick
Oldsmobile
DNQ 39 24 16
108 99 Bob McElwee Buick 16 8
109 99 Terry Herman Buick 14 31
110 77 Dean Combs Buick 28 34
111 24 Jimmy Hensley Buick 7
112 99 Rick Knoop Buick 20
113 40 Rick Baldwin Oldsmobile 21
114 6 Bob Senneker Pontiac 21
115 99 Al Loquasto Buick 24
116 25 Charlie Chamblee Pontiac 26
117 1 Chuck Pittenger Buick 28
118 08 Joel Stowe Pontiac 29
119 08 Bruce Jacobi Buick 30
120 08 Don Satterfield Chevrolet 30
121 40 Don Hume Buick 33
122 8 Kirk Shelmerdine Pontiac 33
Pos. # Driver Make RSD DAY RCH RCK ATL BRI NWB DAR MAR TAL NSH DOV CLT COL RSD MCH DAY NSH POC TAL MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWB CLT RCK ATL RSD Pts

Source:[1]

References