DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 5, 2008) -- 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 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.
“We had an idea the car was strong when we came down here,” Sacks said after what many consider the biggest upset in NASCAR 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 qualifying race, the Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola 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 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 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola proves that you never know who’s going to win at Daytona.
For tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola, log on to www.racetickets.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.