Neil Bonnett

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Best Buds - Bonnett and Earnhardt
Best Bonnets Dodge Magnum in 1978
In later years, Neil was a commentator when not racing


Neil earned 18 Winston Cup Series victories during his 18-year career. Among his 18 wins were back-to-back victories in NASCAR's longest (miles) race -- the Coca-Cola 600 (1982 and 1983). He also won back-to-back Busch Clash races at Daytona International Speedway (1983 and 1984). His highest finish in the series points chase was in 1985 when he finished fourth and his teammate, Darrell Waltrip, won the championship. He was an original member of the Alabama Gang that include the Allisons and Red Farmer. Outside the cockpit, Bonnett developed a career as a television commentator for race broadcasts and hosted his own show, "Neil Bonnett's Winners" on The Nashville Network. He was fatally injured in a crash during practice for the 1994 Daytona 500.

Personal Data

  • Full Name:Lawrence Neil Bonnett
  • Nickname:
  • DOB: July 30, 1946
  • Place of Birth: Hueytown, Al
  • DOD: February 11, 1994 (aged 47)
  • Place Interned: Forest Grove Memorial Gardens Pleasant Grove Jefferson County Alabama
  • Spouse: Susan
  • Children: David, Kristen



Important Accomplishments

  • 18 victories and 20 poles over his 18-year career
  • He appeared in the 1983 film Stroker Ace and the 1990 film Days of Thunder
  • He was a color commentator in the years up until his death.
  • Neil Bonnett holds the distinction of being the winner of the first ever NASCAR race held outside of North America when he won the 1988 Goodyear NASCAR 500 at the A$54 million Calder Park Thunderdome in Melbourne, Australia


Bonnett had secured a ride and sponsorship for at least six races in the 1994 season with car owner James Finch, including the season opening Daytona 500, for Phoenix Racing. On February 11, 1994, during the first practice session for the 1994 Daytona 500, Bonnett's car suffered a right front tire failure in the track's fourth turn. Bonnett's car hit the outside wall nearly head-on. Bonnett was taken to nearby Halifax Medical Center, but he had died on impact. A road called "Allison-Bonnett Memorial Drive" in his hometown honors him, along with fellow native Davey Allison, who died a year earlier.


Neil Bonnett was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in 1997.


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