JUNIE GOES TO VICTORY LANE
Dover proved to be magical for the late Junie Donlavey, who won the only NASCAR Cup Series race of his career at Dover on May 17, 1981 in the Mason-Dixon 500 when driver Jody Ridley took the checkered flag. Ridley had a good car that day, but it was even more reliable and that proved the difference. Neil Bonnett was the dominant driver as he led 404 of the first 459 laps, but he blew an engine that ended his day. Cale Yarborough appeared to be the main beneficiary as he inherited the lead, but the same fate befell him 20 laps from the finish and sent him to the garage. That left Ridley to assume the top spot and he held on from there to register his first and only Cup win. It also ended up being Donlavey’s only trip to victory lane. The Richmond native made 863 starts and fielded strictly Ford products from 1965-2002 in NASCAR’s top series that featured names like LeeRoy Yarbrough, Fred Lorenzen, Harry Gant, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Dick Trickle.