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Darrell Waltrip

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 8, 2009

Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip


Darrell Waltrip rallied from a 341-point deficit to bag his first NASCAR Cup Series championship in 1981, as Bobby Allison finished second for the fourth time in his career.

Waltrip was seemingly out of the title hunt in early June, but he began to whittle away at Allison’s lead with a series of top-five finishes. With six races to go, Waltrip moved into the points lead with a runner-up finish at Dover. In the final six races, Waltrip extended his lead and finished 53 points ahead of Allison.

Waltrip won 12 races during the 1981 season, while Allison won five times. No one else was close in the points race. Harry Gant finished third, 670 points behind Waltrip, and failed to record a single victory. Terry Labonte and Jody Ridley rounded out the top-five finishers.

DW Mt Dew #11

DW Mt Dew #11


For the second straight season, Darrell Waltrip rallied past Bobby Allison to take the NASCAR Cup Series championship. Driving Buicks for Junior Johnson, Waltrip lagged behind in the points race as Terry Labonte and Allison held the top spots for most of the summer. With four races remaining, Waltrip seized the points lead with an October victory at Martinsville.

For Allison, it was another frustrating end as he finished second in points for the fifth time in his career. Waltrip’s win gave team owner Johnson his fifth NASCAR Cup Series championship in the last seven years.

Waltrip won 12 races along the way to his 72-point victory. Allison won eight races. Labonte, who led the points standings most of the way through early August despite failing to record a victory, faded to third place, 278 points behind Waltrip.

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