HAMPTON, Ga. — Bill Elliott and his temporary pit crew teamed Sunday to beat Dale Earnhardt in the Atlanta Journal 500 NASCAR stock car race.
Four of Elliott's crewmen, including his youngest brother, Dan, are recuperating from injuries suffered in a pit road accident two weeks ago at Riverside.
Elliott came into the season-ending race at Atlanta International Raceway with the volunteer crew, led by Joey Knuckles, a veteran crewman let go recently by another NASCAR team.
Elliott, from Dawsonville, Ga., told the crowd he was dedicating the race victory to Chuck Hill, the most seriously injured of the four crewmen. Hill, who had his spleen removed and had a dislocated hip and a fractured leg, still is in the intensive care unit at a Riverside hospital.
"Chuck's been with us a long time," said Elliott, who heads the family-run team. "I hope he was able to watch this on television and know it was for him."
Elliott clinched second place in the Winston Cup standings with his sixth victory of the year, while Earnhardt's second-place finish pushed him past $2 million in earnings for the season.
Earnhardt led the way in 1987 with 11 victories and 21 top-five finishes in 29 starts.
Ricky Rudd finished third, followed by Bobby Allison and, one lap back, by Allison's son Davey, the top rookie driver in NASCAR's major series this year.
The 23rd victory of Elliott's career, and his third in the last four starts, came by 10.1 seconds over Earnhardt. The winner's Ford Thunderbird averaged 139.047 m.p.h., as he earned $74,200.
The race was marred by two multi-car crashes. The first came on lap 33 when Ed Pimm got sideways in front of Cale Yarborough in the third turn. Yarborough hit Pimm, and Lake Speed slammed into Yarborough.
Yarborough drove into the pits with flames billowing from underneath his car. None of the drivers was injured, but Yarborough and Speed were done for the day.
Richard Petty slid out of control coming out of turn four on lap 154 and hit Geoff Bodine. Meanwhile, Petty was hit by Rick Wilson. Then, Petty was struck again, by J.D. McDuffie. There were no injuries.