|Race 18 of 29 in the 1991 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season|
Watkins Glen short course from 1971–1991, before the Inner Loop was added.
|Date||August 11, 1991|
|Official name||Budweiser at the Glen|
|Location||Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York|
Permanent racing facility|
2.428 mi (3.909 km)
|Distance||90 laps, 218.52 mi (351.81 km)|
|Weather||Warm with temperatures approaching 81 °F (27 °C); wind speeds up to 14 miles per hour (23 km/h)|
|Average speed||98.997 miles per hour (159.320 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Ernie Irvan||Morgan-McClure Motorsports|
|No. 4||Ernie Irvan||Morgan-McClure Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
Bob Jenkins |
The 1991 Budweiser at The Glen racing event was officially sanctioned as part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Taking place on August 11, 1991, at Watkins Glen International, this race was the 18th race completed out of the 29 attempted during the 1991 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. The race was won by Ernie Irvan driving the No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet Lumina for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, but was marred by an early crash that claimed the life of veteran driver J. D. McDuffie.
Terry Labonte, driving the No. 94 Sunoco-sponsored Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme for Billy Hagan, qualified on pole for the race. Irvan, who won the race, qualified third. Five cautions slowed the race for 11 laps. Ricky Rudd finished second behind Irvan in the No. 5 Tide-sponsored Chevrolet Lumina for Hendrick Motorsports, and Richard Petty recorded his final career Top 10 finish in the No. 43 STP-sponsored Pontiac Grand Prix by finishing ninth.
ESPN carried the race as part of its coverage of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Bob Jenkins, Benny Parsons, and Ned Jarrett called the race while Jerry Punch and John Kernan were pit reporters. Jenkins called the race from the broadcast booth near the front straightaway while his analysts were stationed on the track, with Parsons reporting from the first turn and Jarrett stationed at the fifth turn known as the "Loop".
Lap 5 crash
The fatal crash that marred the race occurred involved two of the six owner-drivers in the race. J.D. McDuffie, as he had done for years, was driving his #70 Pontiac Grand Prix, for which he had obtained sponsorship from a local Watkins Glen-area construction company. The other car involved belonged to Jimmy Means, who also fielded his own Pontiacs at the time; this particular race saw his #52 carry sponsorship from Alka-Seltzer. (The other four owner-drivers in the race were the aforementioned Richard Petty in the #43 STP Pontiac, Darrell Waltrip in the #17 Western Auto Chevrolet, Dave Marcis in the #71 Chevrolet, and Alan Kulwicki in the #7 Hooters Ford.)
The #70 and the #52 made contact with each other entering the Loop turn. McDuffie’s car suffered a broken axle and brake failure, leaving him without any way to stop or slow the car as both he and Means lost control and veered off the track. Going at his full racing speed, and with no gravel trap to stop him, McDuffie rolled through the grass and plowed into the tire barrier protecting the guardrail outside the turn with such force that the car was lifted off the ground, rotated in mid—air, and came to rear upside down. Means was able to get the #52 slowed enough to where he did not make as hard a hit as McDuffie did; in fact, he actually went underneath the #70 as it was in the air before he came to rest just alongside the tires. The impact McDuffie made with the tire barrier killed him instantly.
As Means emerged from his race car, he went over to the wrecked Pontiac to try to assist McDuffie. A few seconds after looking inside the cockpit of the #70, Means began frantically waving for track safety officials to come to the scene. Means then spoke to Ned Jarrett, who as mentioned before was stationed on the track just behind where the accident occurred, on the ESPN broadcast moments later that he hoped his fellow driver was okay but conceded the situation did not look good.
Just as the drivers completed the fifth lap, NASCAR threw the red flag and stopped the drivers on the front stretch. The race was red-flagged for one hour and 48 minutes, first to extract McDuffie from his vehicle, and then to allow time for track workers to repair the guardrail in that location. Later, as the race was restarting, Jerry Punch of ESPN and Bill Bowser of MRN were both present for the official statement from Winston Cup Media Director Chip Williams that McDuffie had died from his injuries sustained in the crash. On ESPN, Bob Jenkins then eulogized McDuffie before Benny Parsons spoke directly to McDuffie's widow, Ima Jean.
As he had mentioned, Parsons had his own experience in having to deal with a spousal death. Earlier that season, during the Winston Cup’s June race weekend at Pocono, he had stayed behind at his North Carolina home to be with his wife Connie as she battled a terminal illness. On the day of the race, which Jenkins and Jarrett called without him, Connie Parsons passed away.
McDuffie was credited with a last-place finish of 40th, while Means was credited with a 39th place finish. A brief ceremony honoring McDuffie was held during the 1992 Coca-Cola 600 race held the following year.
This incident was the second serious accident at Turn 5 that year. During June's Camel Continental sports car race, Tommy Kendall crashed in the same area after losing control of his vehicle — he, like McDuffie, lost a wheel before crashing — and broke both of his legs. Coincidentally, Kendall was scheduled to take part in this particular race prior to his accident driving the No. 42 Mello Yello Pontiac for Felix Sabates in place of an injured Kyle Petty, but his injuries allowed Bobby Hillin, Jr. to take over the ride for the Budweiser at the Glen. (Hillin finished 18th.)
In the wake of both serious incidents, Watkins Glen International track officials decided to reconfigure the Loop and added a chicane to the entrance of the turn which was dubbed the Inner Loop. They did not, however, make this a permanent change and left the Loop turn as a whole in place, choosing to leave it to the sanctioning bodies of the racing series as to whether or not they wanted to use the chicane. Races using the short course, like the still-running NASCAR events, use the Inner Loop chicane. Races using the full course, like those run by sports car racing series and the IndyCar Series, usually use the original Loop configuration (not all do, however).
When the race restarted, Terry Labonte maintained the lead. On lap 20, Labonte cut a left-rear tire and spun entering turn one, bringing out the caution to retrieve his tire. Ernie Irvan ran up front until he spun out of the lead in turn six on lap 48. Irvan re-entered the track in fifth place. A caution for rain came out on lap 59. The shower was brief and Ken Schrader emerged in the lead after pitting shortly before the caution. Schrader led until lap 68 when he broke a camshaft in turn five and coasted back to the pits. Later that lap, Kim Campbell spun in turn five, hitting the wall with the back of his Oldsmobile and bringing out the fifth and final caution of the day. The race came down to a three car battle between Irvan, Mark Martin, and Davey Allison for the victory. On the final lap, Martin attempted a pass for the lead entering turn one. Irvan blocked the attempt forcing Martin to slam on the brakes. This disrupted the balance of Martin's Thunderbird causing him to spin and Davey Allison to spin in avoidance. Irvan drove to a seven-second victory. Martin finished third while Allison had trouble restarting his car, finishing tenth. Coming out of the final turn, Bill Elliott and Hut Stricklin spun across the finish line, finishing seventh and eight respectively.
- "1991 Budweiser At The Glen weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2012-09-05. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- "1991 Budweiser At The Glen racing results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 2011-03-08. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- "1991 Budweiser At The Glen racing results (second reference)". Driver Averages. Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
- "1991 Budweiser At The Glen winner's prize money". Everything Stock Car. Retrieved 2011-03-10. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- "1991 Budweiser At The Glen death scene". Legends of NASCAR. Retrieved 2011-03-09.
- "12 Aug 1991, Page 11 - The Anniston Star at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
- Jenkins, Bob; Jarret, Ned; Parsons, Benny (August 11, 1991). Budweiser at the Glen (Television). Watkins Glen, New York: ESPN.
- Jenkins, Bob; Jarret, Ned (June 16, 1991). Champion Spark Plug 500 (Television). Long Pond, Pennsylvania: ESPN.
- "Budweiser at The Glen Race Results". Motor Racing Network. Archived from the original on 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
1991 DieHard 500
| NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season
1991 Champion Spark Plug 400