By Ben White
Driving the No. 22 car fielded by DiGard Racing, Bobby Allison posted six victories and 25 top-10 finishes in 30 races, as he finally edged rival Darrell Waltrip to claim the NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Heading into the 1983 Cup Series campaign, most everyone expected a repeat of the two previous seasons in which Allison and Waltrip dominated the championship headlines. Their extremely competitive battles for points and positions were the top story right down to the final race of both seasons, as a volley of verbal accusations kept the motorsports media busy churning out the respective sides of the story.
The year was new and Allison had a new look, new sponsor and a new car number. Even though his year began by destroying three cars during Speedweeks at Daytona and a 10th-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, Allison and the DiGard Racing team rebounded to win at Richmond Raceway the next week.
All told, Allison’s six wins offset his 25th-place finish at Atlanta, 34th-place result at Michigan and 22nd-place effort at Riverside, all due to mechanical issues. He had only two engine failures during the 30-race season.
Waltrip also logged six wins and had 25 top-10 finishes in a close statistical battle with Allison but suffered four DNFs during the year, which made the difference in the final points tally.
Allison had a 47-point advantage over Waltrip following the season finale at California’s Riverside International Raceway. In that race, Waltrip spun during the closing laps while battling Tim Richmond for the win and ended up sixth. Allison finished eighth in a conservative effort to secure the only Cup Series championship of his 25-year career.
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Driving the No. 22 DiGard Racing Buick/Chevrolet, Bobby Allison collected six victories and 25 top-10 results during the 1983 Cup Series season. Allison was finally able to celebrate a series title after coming close in points on multiple occasions. He battled Darrell Waltrip the two previous seasons, as well as Richard Petty in 1972, and fallen short each time. With crew chief Gary Nelson calling the shots and engines built by Robert Yates, the title was finally his.
Richard Petty, driver of the No. 43 Petty Enterprises Pontiac, ended a 43-race winless drought with a popular half-car length victory over Bill Elliott at Rockingham Speedway on March 18. It was the first Cup Series win for the seven-time champion since Aug. 16, 1981, at Michigan International Speedway. Petty took the lead from Elliott with 29 laps remaining and drove defensively to hold off the popular Georgia driver for the victory.
TOP CARS (2)
Bobby Allison’s No. 22 DiGard Racing Buick/Chevrolet won six races and had 25 top-10 finishes in 30 starts.
The No. 11 Junior Johnson and Associates Buick/Chevrolet driven by Darrell Waltrip also won six times with 25 top-10 results.
1983 Season Recap
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Feb. 20 | Daytona International Speedway | Cale Yarborough
Feb. 27 | Richmond Raceway | Bobby Allison
March 13 | Rockingham Speedway | Richard Petty
March 27 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Cale Yarborough
April 10 | Darlington Raceway | Harry Gant
April 17 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
April 24 | Martinsville Superspeedway | Darrell Waltrip
May 1 | Talladega Superspeedway | Richard Petty
May 7 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Darrell Waltrip
May 15 | Dover Motor Speedway | Bobby Allison
May 21 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
May 29 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Neil Bonnett
June 5 | Riverside International Raceway | Ricky Rudd
June 12 | Pocono Raceway | Bobby Allison
June 19 | Michigan International Speedway | Cale Yarborough
July 4 | Daytona International Speedway | Buddy Baker
July 16 | Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | Dale Earnhardt
July 24 | Pocono Raceway | Tim Richmond
July 31 | Talladega Superspeedway | Dale Earnhardt
Aug. 21 | Michigan International Speedway | Cale Yarborough
Aug. 27 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
Sept. 5 | Darlington Raceway | Bobby Allison
Sept. 11 | Richmond Raceway | Bobby Allison
Sept. 18 | Dover Motor Speedway | Bobby Allison
Sept. 25 | Martinsville Speedway | Ricky Rudd
Oct. 2 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
Oct. 9 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Richard Petty
Oct. 30 | Rockingham Speedway | Terry Labonte
Nov. 6 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Neil Bonnett
Nov. 20 | Riverside International Raceway | Bill Elliott