NASCAR has the others beat. In the stick and ball world, most all-star games are a farce. The Pro Bowl looks more like a seven-on-seven drill. If you see defense being played in the NBA all-star game, you’ll be the first. The Major League all-star game, with all it’s tradition, is a little more serious, but often lacks the same passion you get at NASCAR’s all-star event.
I could either use up a lot of space telling you about the race that has gone by several different names, or I could show you…….
ONE HOT NIGHT- 1992- This season may have been NASCAR’s finest hour, with Dale Earnhardt, Davey Allison, Bill Elliott and Kyle Petty all battling for a championship ultimately won by Alan Kulwicki is his “Underbird.” NASCAR’s all-star event was no tame affair either, with Petty, Earnhardt and Allison all battling for the big prize. Word has it Earnhardt had Petty in a headlock after the race. Hmmm.
THE HERO BECOMES THE VILLAIN- 1989- Before he became “Ol’ DW”, three-time champion Darrell Waltrip was known as “Jaws.” Some say he was the original Kyle Busch; that is, he was a prolific, but polarizing winner. Meanwhile, Rusty Wallace was a kind of fair-haired boy for the late 1980s. This incident in NASCAR’s all-star event from 1989 changed everything, according to some. After the race, the crews continued the fireworks. Waltrip later said he hoped Wallace choked on all that money.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF WALTRIP’S ENGINE- 1985- Did Darrell Waltrip use an illegal engine to win NASCAR’s first all-star race? He says he was told to go easy on the engine, because it was designed for maximum power and a short shelf life. DW overtook Harry Gant to win the $200,000 prize, and his engine blew at the finish line, triggering great speculation. Considering Waltrip’s reputation and that of car owner Junior Johnson, conspiracy theorists suggest pulled one over on the NASCAR brass that day. Waid’s World has a great piece on the 1985 Winston.
LITTLE BROTHER MIKEY WINS- 1996- Much is made of Michael Waltrip’s win in the Daytona 500 win breaking a string of over 460 starts without a victory. Indeed, that was Mikey’s first points paying win. Roll back the clock less than five years, and the younger Waltrip brother was the Cinderella story of 1996 while racing for the Wood Brothers, capitalizing on a battle between Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte.
BUSCH VS. BUSCH- 2007- If you don’t think this exhibition means anything, check out this clash between two brothers. Word has it that Kurt and Kyle Busch didn’t speak for six months after this clash in NASCAR’s all-star event of 2007. I’d say this is living proof that either one would wreck their own mom for the win, but I suspect that would only happen if she didn’t wreck them both first.
PASS IN THE GRASS- 1987- For the record, it wasn’t really a pass. It may not have been a pass, but it was a display of driving by Dale Earnhardt in his battle with Bill Elliott that shows off why he was one of the all-time greats.
Enjoy the videos, enjoy the stories. NASCAR’s all-star event with all its pageantry and competition is an exhibition unlike any other.