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The Last Comeback: The Story Of Tim Richmond’s 1988 Daytona 500 Drama


The Last Comeback: The Story Of Tim Richmond’s 1988 Daytona 500 Drama

He had a playboy reputation and had just started to gel with Hendricks Motorsports and legendary crew chief Harry Hyde. For the 1986 season, he had racked up a string of first-place finishes and managed to take third in points for the year. Tim Richmond seemed to be on the rocket ride up to the top…then 1987 happened. After sitting out half of the season with what had been reported as double pneumonia (and in truth had been at least related to being a carrier of HIV/AIDS), he had returned to start a handful of races to close out the year, taking first at Pocono and Riverside and driving, officially, for the last time at Michigan before retiring from Hendrick Motorsports in September 1987.

The 1988 Daytona 500 was supposed to be the point where Richmond was going to mount his comeback. He felt better, looked better, and seemed ready to get going once again. By most accounts, he would be ready to race, but after NASCAR implemented a new drug testing policy (partially due to claims that Richmond was on drugs), and Richmond popped hot, NASCAR suspended his license. After it was determined that the chemicals in Richmond’s sample were Advil and Sudafed, Richmond tried to get his license back, but NASCAR wanted his medical records from 1987 before they were going to allow it. Richmond refused, and things kept hitting the fan from that moment until Richmond’s passing in August of 1989. Here’s a review of everything that went down. What do you think, fair shake or not?


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2 thoughts on “The Last Comeback: The Story Of Tim Richmond’s 1988 Daytona 500 Drama

  1. LanceH

    Interesting, It is now well known he had AIDS at time when it was labeled as a gay disease . Hiding that at the time was the only way the then current sponsors would have anything to do with him. NASCARs southern “family” roots would not take kindly to “THAT” lifestyle.
    Did Richmond and NASCAR conspire to create this controversy to protect his image allowing NASCAR to be the villian?
    The positive test,saying they waited for verification,then the retest being allowed substances…..

    I think the truth was known.
    The unknowns of AIDS at the time presented too much risk for NASCAR had Richmond ended up in the care center bleeding….

    A deal was made ,Richmond had to put up a “fight” it allowed him to go “on top” NASCAR absorbed the hate.

    The Test Dr. was a casualty that ended up being dirty himself ,probably saving sever careers by being put out.

  2. SULLIVAN Dunaway

    In no way do I think Tim Richmond was gay he did not have time to work all the women in and I know a couple of guys that worked for Hendricks at the time and they both said theirs no way he was gay. Dale Earnhardt said if he would have lived he would have been his biggest threat he said he was a hell of a driver and a hell of a guy

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