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1993:

Earnhardt Regains the Magic

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By Ben White

Driving the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt won six races and scored 21 top-10 finishes en route to claiming his sixth series title, one shy of Richard Petty’s record of seven.

Earnhardt returned to championship form after seeing Alan Kulwicki and his AK Racing team surprise the NASCAR world with their championship run in 1992. The No. 3 team found the magic as the Andy Petree-led operation was back in form.

Earnhardt was still unable to score an elusive victory in the Daytona 500, however, finishing second to Dale Jarrett and Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR’s most prestigious race. Still, Earnhardt’s second-place finish in the season opener set the stage for a solid start to the season. 

It wasn’t until Darlington on March 28 that Earnhardt went to Victory Lane. Just three days later on April 1, Kulwicki perished in a plane crash en route to Bristol Motor Speedway. His death was a terrible loss to the sport. Then in July, Davey Allison died as a result of a helicopter crash at Talladega Superspeedway. 

Rusty Wallace, Earnhardt’s closest championship rival, won 10 races throughout the year and knocked his rival back to second in points early. Wallace shaved 273 points off Earnhardt’s lead and finished ahead of him in seven consecutive races by late summer.

A third-place effort at Sonoma Raceway put Earnhardt back in the lead and a win in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway kept him there the rest of the season. Four wins followed at Dover, Daytona, Pocono and Talladega over the next six months and the title was his.

By season’s end at Atlanta on Nov. 14, Earnhardt was 80 points ahead of Wallace.

1993: Dale Earnhardt built himself a comfortable early season points lead towards claiming his sixth national title in 1993. (Photo by ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images) 83424444 R-354424-RZXG

1993

NO. 1 AT THE BOX OFFICE: JURASSIC PARK

MOVIES TO WATCH: THE FUGITIVE AND MRS. DOUBTFIRE

NO. 1 SONG: “I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU” BY WHITNEY HOUSTON

GALLON OF GAS: $1.11

POP CULTURE: INTEL INTRODUCED THE PENTIUM MICROPROCESSOR, USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF SPEEDY COMPUTERS. IN ADDITION, MICROSOFT RELEASED THE WINDOWS NT 3.1 VERSION.

BEST DRIVER

Rusty Wallace won one-third of the NASCAR Cup Series races in 1993 as he drove the No. 2 Penske Racing Pontiac to 10 victories. Even though he finished second in points to Earnhardt, his performance on the track was better than any other driver. The fact that Wallace suffered five DNFs resulted in lost points, but his 11.9 average start and 9.4 average finish kept him within striking distance of the title throughout the year.

BEST RACE

On Aug. 28, Mark Martin overcame a two-lap deficit and roared past Rusty Wallace with 13 laps remaining at Bristol Motor Speedway to grab his third consecutive win on the Tennessee short track. Driving the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford, Martin held the lead during the final three frantic laps, but Wallace was closing as Martin worked through lapped traffic. The victory was also Martin’s fourth consecutive win of the season.

TOP CARS

Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet recorded six wins and 21 top-10 results during the season’s 30 races.

The stats line for Rusty Wallace’s No. 2 Penske Racing Pontiac included 10 victories and 21 top-10 finishes.

1993 Season Recap

DATE | LOCATION | WINNER

Feb. 14 | Daytona International Speedway | Dale Jarrett

Feb. 28 | Rockingham Speedway | Rusty Wallace

March 7 | Richmond Raceway | Davey Allison

March 20 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Morgan Shepherd 

March 28 | Darlington Raceway | Dale Earnhardt

April 4 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Rusty Wallace

April 18 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Rusty Wallace

April 25 | Martinsville Speedway | Rusty Wallace

May 2 | Talladega Superspeedway | Ernie Irvan

May 16 | Sonoma Raceway | Geoff Bodine

May 30 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Dale Earnhardt

June 6 | Dover Motor Speedway | Dale Earnhardt

June 13 | Pocono Raceway | Kyle Petty

June 20 | Michigan International Speedway | Ricky Rudd

July 3 | Daytona International Speedway | Dale Earnhardt

July 11 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Rusty Wallace

July 18 | Pocono Raceway | Dale Earnhardt

July 20 | Talladega Superspeedway | Dale Earnhardt

Aug. 8 | Watkins Glen International | Mark Martin

Aug. 15 | Michigan International Speedway | Mark Martin

Aug. 28 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Mark Martin

Sept. 5 | Darlington Raceway | Mark Martin

Sept. 11 | Richmond Raceway | Rusty Wallace

Sept. 19 | Dover Motor Speedway | Rusty Wallace

Sept. 26 | Martinsville Speedway | Ernie Irvan

Oct. 3 | North Wilkesboro Speedway | Rusty Wallace

Oct. 10 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Ernie Irvan

Oct. 24 | Rockingham Speedway | Rusty Wallace

Oct. 31 | Phoenix Raceway | Mark Martin

Nov. 14 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Rusty Wallace

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