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1994:

Dale Earnhardt and Richard Childress emerge triumphant

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Earnhardt Gets Title No. 7

In 1994, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Childress Racing of Welcome, North Carolina, emerged triumphant and collected the coveted NASCAR Cup Series championship after logging four wins, 25 top-10 finishes and two pole positions in 31 starts.

The season began with Earnhardt singing the same Day- tona 500 song he had been singing since first coming to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway in 1979. Once again, he finished the 500 without a win. He ended up seventh behind winner Sterling Marlin.

Still, the Kannapolis, North Carolina, native was determined to make it a great season, and why not? He was NASCAR’s defending Cup Series champion with the same team owner in Richard Childress, the same team in RCR and the same pit crew led by crew chief Andy Petree.

Earnhardt scored his first victory of the season in the fifth race at Darlington Raceway and followed that with a win the next week at Bristol Motor Speedway. His season felt like a carbon copy of 1993 and had that championship feel. He took the point with the win at Bristol and the season looked promising.

Earnhardt was second in points for eight weeks through the 400-mile race at Daytona but returned to the lead and stayed there the remainder of the year.

At Michigan International Speedway in August, Earnhardt was involved in a two- car crash with Todd Bodine. Ironically, it was the first time since July 1986 at Daytona that he hadn’t finished a Cup Series race due to a crash on the track.

A final victory at Rockingham Speedway in October iced Earnhardt’s seventh- career championship. Mark Martin, driver of the Roush Racing Ford, finished second in points to Earnhardt for the second time.

1994

PRESIDENT: BILL CLINTON

NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: THE LION KING

NO. 1 SONG: “THE SIGN” BY ACE OF BASE

GALLON OF GAS: $1.11

POP CULTURE: THE POLICE CHASE OF A WHITE FORD BRONCO CARRYING O.J. SIMPSON CAPTIVATED A NATIONWIDE TELEVISION AUDIENCE.

BEST DRIVER

RUSTY WALLACE, DRIVER OF THE NO. 2 Ford for Team Penske, won eight Cup Series races, logging 17 top-five finishes and 20 top-10 results in 31 starts.

However, the Fenton, Missouri, native suffered three engine failures and major crashes at Daytona and Talladega further hampered his title hopes, but miraculously resulted in relatively minor injuries. The only championship of Wallace’s 26-year Cup Series career came in 1989 with team owner Raymond Beadle.

BEST RACE

ON AUG. 6, JEFF GORDON, DRIVING the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, won the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after starting third in the 43-car field. The native of Vallejo, California, and longtime Indiana resident led 93 of the race’s 160 laps en route to the second NASCAR Cup Series victory of his career. Gordon went on to win five times at the famed Brickyard, his last victory there coming in 2014.

TOP CARS

DALE EARNHARDT’S 1994 NO. 3 RICHARD Childress Racing Chevrolet with four wins, 20 top-five finishes, 25 top-10 results and two pole positions. Driving the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford, Mark Martin had two wins, 15 top-five results, 20 top-10 showings and one pole position.

SEASON RECAP

DATE | LOCATION | WINNER

Feb 18 | Daytona International Speedway | Derrike Cope

Feb 25 | Richmond International Raceway | Mark Martin

March 4 | North Carolina Speedway | Kyle Petty

March 18 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Dale Earnhardt

April 1 | Darlington Raceway | Dale Earnhardt

April 8 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Davey Allison

April 22 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Brett Bodine

April 29 | Martinsville Speedway | Geoffrey Bodine

May 6 | Talladega Superspeedway | Dale Earnhardt

May 27 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Rusty Wallace

June 3 | Dover International Speedway | Derrike Cope

June 10 | Sonoma Raceway | Rusty Wallace

June 17 | Pocono Raceway | Harry Gant

June 24 | Michigan International Speedway | Dale Earnhardt

July 7 | Daytona International Speedway | Dale Earnhardt

July 22 | Pocono Raceway | Geoffrey Bodine

July 29 | Talladega Superspeedway | Dale Earnhardt

Aug. 12 | Watkins Glen International | Ricky Rudd

Aug. 19 | Michigan International Speedway | Mark Martin

Aug. 25 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Ernie Irvan

Sept. 2 | Darlington Raceway | Dale Earnhardt

Sept. 9 | Richmond International Raceway | Dale Earnhardt

Sept. 16 | Dover International Speedway | Bill Elliott

Sept. 23 | Martinsville Speedway | Geoffrey Bodine

Sept. 30 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Mark Martin

Oct. 7 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Davey Allison

Oct. 21 | North Carolina Speedway | Alan Kulwicki

Nov. 4 | Phoenix International Raceway | Dale Earnhardt

Nov. 18 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Morgan Shepherd

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Noah Teich

Noah Teich

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