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WATCH: William Byron Channels Inner Dale Earnhardt for Iconic “Pass in the Grass” at Charlotte

Gowtham Ramalingam

WATCH: William Byron Channels Inner Dale Earnhardt for Iconic “Pass in the Grass” at Charlotte

In Stage 3 of the rain-shortened race in Charlotte on Sunday, William Byron pulled an impressive three-wide pass to get past Tyler Reddick and Ty Gibbs. He made the pass partially riding on the infield grass and took the 95,000 people watching it from the stands on a trip down memory lane. It was on the same track back in 1987 did Dale Earnhardt Sr. made a move not much different from Byron’s.

The maneuver nicknamed the “Pass in the Grass” went down during the 1987 All-Star race. The Intimidator was battling Bill Elliott for the lead in the final segment when a nudge shoved him into the tri-oval grass at the start-finish line. He somehow managed to keep his car straight for 50 yards and returned to the track still in the lead.

Though it was not essentially a “pass” in the literal meaning of the word, the moment is considered to be one of the greatest in NASCAR. What Byron did to pass Reddick and Gibbs was of a similar equation. At the end of the 249 laps, he finished in third place behind Christopher Bell and Brad Keselowski. He is now fifth on the points table.

Cup Series drivers about Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s “Pass in the Grass”

Today, every driver admits the fact that the move from Dale Sr. wasn’t a pass. But that does little to take away the impressiveness of the skill that’s required to handle a high-speed car on the grass. Dale Earnhardt Jr. says about it on a NASCAR broadcast, “The pass in the grass is obviously not a pass. But it put Dad on the map and solidified the Intimidator image.”

Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, who wasn’t even born in 1987, says, “It’s one of those moments that’s unscripted and has withstood the test of time. If I see a clip of it online, I’m going to sit and watch it.” RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher was equally in awe. “At that speed in those cars and as out of control as they were, to hold it together and run through there was a massive feat,” he said.

The 1987 incident is regarded as the greatest NASCAR moment that never happened. But Byron’s moment of glory did happen. He passed not one but two cars on the track by taking it to the grass and created a great memory for every stock car racing fan.

Post Edited By:Srijan Mandal

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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