Pepsi 400 Memory Book: Sacks' big upset

Pepsi 400 Memory Book: Sacks' win ranks as one of the biggest upsets. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (May 31, 2002) -- On July 4, 1985, the stars and planets were aligned perfectly for Greg Sacks. Driving an unsponsored, research and development...

Pepsi 400 Memory Book: Sacks' win ranks as one of the biggest upsets.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (May 31, 2002) -- On July 4, 1985, the stars and planets were aligned perfectly for Greg Sacks.

Driving an unsponsored, research and development Chevrolet with a walk-on pit crew, Sacks took the lead from Bill Elliott with nine laps remaining and scored a 23.5-second upset victory in the Pepsi 400.

"We had an idea the car was strong when we came down here," Sacks said after what was considered the biggest upset in Pepsi 400 history. "I knew if I stayed out of trouble, we'd have a chance."

Gary Nelson, Sacks' crew chief, was tapped to build the No. 10 Chevrolet for owner Bill Gardner, who had hoped the research & development car would yield some information that would translate to his other driver Bobby Allison.

The mission of the No. 10 Chevrolet was to find a way to help Allison defeat Bill Elliott, who was dominating the superspeedway races at the time.

In fact, Elliott was trying to sweep all of DIS' major events in 1985. He had already won the Daytona 500 pole, a Gatorade 125-mile qualifier, the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 pole.

The car, which was powered by a Robert Yates-built engine, has been described as sophisticated, exotic and unconventional.

The team had an experienced crew chief in Nelson, but little else. There was no corporate support as the car sported a plain red and white paint scheme with no sponsor decals.

Sacks didn't have a whole lot of experience and was winless in his previous 34 Winston Cup starts.

The pit crew was raw and assembled at the last minute, which made their pit stops anything but graceful. And to make things even tougher, the team's radio communication failed after the team's final pit stop.

But the car was a rocket ship.

"I felt like we had the strongest car from the first moment we came here," Sacks said. "We were using a lot of ideas, and I felt if I could stay out of trouble, we had a shot at winning."

Sacks' triumph in the 1985 Pepsi 400 proves that you never know who's going to win at Daytona.

Tickets for the 44th annual Pepsi 400 on July 6 and the inaugural STACKER2/GNC Live Well 250 NASCAR Busch Series race are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

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About this article
Series Vintage , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Allison , Robert Yates , Greg Sacks