1992 Hooters 500: Elliott Wins Battle, Kulwicki Wins War
By: MRN Staff on August 27, 2014 | 2:54 P.M. EST
In 1992, one of the fiercest championship battles in NASCAR history went right down to the closing laps of the final race. Bill Elliott won the battle, but Alan Kulwicki won the war. (Photo: ISC Archives)
In 1992, one of the fiercest championship battles in NASCAR history went right down to the closing laps of the season’s final race. On Nov. 15 of that year, Bill Elliott won the battle, but Alan Kulwicki won the war.
Elliott drove his No. 11 Junior Johnson-owned Ford to victory in the Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, giving him a series-best total of five wins. But right behind came Kulwicki in second place, earning enough points to claim the Cup Series crown.
He chased Elliott to the checkered flag before falling eight seconds short of the race win. In this case, second-place was just fine for Kulwicki – who edged Elliott by 10 points in the final standings.
The Hooters 500 victory gave "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" a season sweep of the two races at his "home track." Geoff Bodine ran third that day with Jimmy Spencer and Terry Labonte completing the top five. Jimmy Hensley was the highest-finishing rookie, in eighth place. Pole sitter Rick Mast finished 28th, failing to lead a single lap.
After starting 14th in the 41-car field, Kulwicki led a race-high 103 laps around the mile-and-half oval. There were 20 lead changes among nine drivers, with seven cautions for 45 laps.
Besides deciding one of the closest title fights in NASCAR history, the race will be remembered as Richard Petty’s last … and Jeff Gordon’s first. "The King" bowed out with a 35th-place finish while Gordon wound up 31st in his Hendrick Motorsports debut.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this week for Sunday night’s 55th running of the track’s annual fall race, known today as the Oral-B USA 500.
Visit MRN.com on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) to hear the complete broadcast of the 1992 Hooters 500 from Hampton, Ga., anchored by Barney Hall and Eli Gold. Motor Racing Network – "The Voice of NASCAR" – features a classic race each week on "Throwback Thursday" only at MRN.com.