Kulwicki Scores Come-from-Behind Upset
The 1992 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season featured an intense championship battle that saw six drivers still in contention entering the finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Alan Kulwicki won the title by a mere 10 points over Bill Elliott.
No one could have imagined at the beginning of the 1992 season that it would be one of the most exciting in NASCAR’s 43-year history. Aside from intense on-track competition, headlines included Richard Petty, NASCAR’s most popular and successful driver with 200 victories and seven series championships, retiring after 32 years. Also, a young Jeff Gordon made his first Cup Series start in the Nov. 15 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway after two seasons in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
With 28 races completed, the championship battle narrowed to Kulwicki, Elliott, Davey Allison, Harry Gant, Mark Martin and Kyle Petty, all mathematically within striking distance of the title entering the final race. To win the title, Allison needed to finish sixth or better, but he fell short after being involved in an accident. The race and the championship came down to two men – Elliott and Kulwicki. Elliott won the race in Junior Johnson’s Ford, while Kulwicki finished second in his own Ford. Kulwicki led 103 laps to Elliott’s 102, clinch- ing five bonus points for leading the most laps and that was the deciding factor in the championship.
Billed as an underdog driver against the highly financed teams, the Wisconsin native received NASCAR’s highest honor in New York City in Decem- ber 1992. On April 1, 1993, Kulwicki, along with three others, were killed in a private plane crash while en route to Bristol, Tennessee, for a race at Bristol Motor Speedway
PRESIDENT: GEORGE H.W. BUSH
NO. 1 SONG: “END OF THE ROAD” BY BOYS II MEN
MAJOR NEWS STORIES: TORONTO DEFEATS ATLANTA IN THE WORLD SERIES;
BILL ELLIOTT ENTERED THE 1992 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the new driver of Junior Johnson’s Ford Thunderbird. Elliott left the Dawsonville, Georgia, team founded by his family and eventually purchased by businessman Harry Melling. Elliott scored five victories and finished a very close second in the Cup Series point standings to champion Alan Kulwicki. He dominated the month of March with wins at Rockingham, Richmond, Atlanta and Darlington and topped the Atlanta finale.
THE HOOTERS 500 AT ATLANTA MOTOR Speedway on Nov. 15 was by far the greatest race of the 1992 NASCAR season. At no other time during the 29-race schedule did any other race feature as many interesting story lines. That event had an intense championship battle among six drivers; it was the final race for seven-time champion Richard Petty; and it marked the series debut of future NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon. Books and television documentaries have spotlighted the race as one of NASCAR’s greatest events.
BILL ELLIOTT’S No. 11 Junior Johnson Ford scored five victories and 17 top-10 finishes, while Davey Allison drove Robert Yates’ Ford to similar results, posting five victories and 17 top-10 finishes.
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Feb. 16 | Daytona International Speedway | Davey Allison
March 1 | Rockingham Speedway | Bill Elliott
March 8 | Richmond International Raceway | Bill Elliott
March 15 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Bill Elliott
March 29 | Darlington Raceway | Bill Elliott
April 5 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Alan Kulwicki
April 12 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Davey Allison
April 26 | Martinsville Speedway | Mark Martin
May 3 | Talladega Superspeedway | Davey Allison
May 24 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Dale Earnhardt
May 31 | Dover International Speedway | Harry Gant
June 7 | Sonoma Raceway | Ernie Irvan
June 14 | Pocono Raceway | Alan Kulwicki
June 21 | Michigan International Speedway | Davey Allison
July 4 | Daytona International Speedway | Ernie Irvan
July 19 | Pocono Raceway | Darrell Waltrip
July 26 | Talladega Superspeedway | Ernie Irvan
Aug. 9 | Watkins Glen International | Kyle Petty
Aug. 16 | Michigan International Speedway | Harry Gant
Aug. 29 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Darrell Waltrip
Sept. 6 | Darlington Raceway | Darrell Waltrip
Sept. 12 | Richmond International Raceway | Rusty Wallace
Sept. 20 | Dover International Speedway | Ricky Rudd
Sept. 28 | Martinsville Speedway | Geoff Bodine
Oct. 5 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Geoff Bodine
Oct. 11 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Mark Martin
Oct. 25 | Rockingham Speedway | Kyle Petty
Nov. 1 | Phoenix International Raceway | Davey Allison
Nov. 15 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Bill Elliott