KASEY KAHNE - 4/10/1980 -  is a full-time NASCAR driver.  He participates in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.  In 2001, Kahne made a trip to Pennsylvania where he won the season opener at the historic Williams Grove Speedway.  He was hired by Steve Lewis, who had also employed future NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Jason Leffler, Tony Stewart, and Kenny Irwin, Jr.  In his first year on the midget car circuit, he was named Rookie of the Year, as well as winning the national midget championship.  Kahne made 20 starts in the 2002 Xfinity Series driving the #98 Channellock Ford Taurus for Robert Yates Racing.  His best finish was a tenth-place finish at Cabela's 250.  In 2003, he moved to the #38 Great Clips Ford for Akins Motorsports.  He won his first pole at Michigan International Speedway and his first Xfinity race at the Ford 300.  Kahne replaced Bill Elliott in the #9 Dodge at the end of 2003 when Elliott announced a part-time schedule starting with the 2004 season.  Kahne scored hisfirst career NASCAR Cup victory in his sophomore season of 2005, after a dominating

performance in the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway.  It was also the first victory for the Dodge Charger, which returned to NASCAR in 2005.  On September 9, 2006, Kahne successfully raced his way into the Chase for The Cup by finishing third in Richmond.  He was the 10th and last qualifier for the Chase.  He edged defending Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart out by 16 points, but a disappointing crash at Dover made an impact on Kahne's 8th place finish for the season.  Kahne also won 2 Busch Series races in '06.  With new sponsor Budweiser, Kahne started off the 2008 season strong as he finished in the top 10 in both the Budweiser Shootout and the Gatorade Duel.  On May 25, 2008, Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600 by passing Tony Stewart with 2 laps to go, as Tony had a flat tire going into turn 1.  It was Kasey's first points-paying win of the season.  He also became 

the sixth driver to win the race along with the  All-Star Race the previous weekend.  Kahne won the pole for the Pocono 500.  He would go onto win the race despite being 38th at one point during the race after a miscue in the pits.  Kahne's new team for 2009, Richard Petty Motorsports, was the result of a merger between his team's previous incarnation, Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises.  Kahne won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 event on June 21, 2009, for his first road course win.  He also made "the Chase" but finished tenth in the points.  On September 10, 2009, it was announced that Richard Petty Motorsports would merge with Yates Racing. Kasey Kahne would remain as one of four drivers of RPM alongside his current  Sadler, Allmendinger, as well as Yates Racing driver Paul

Menard.  He failed to win a race that season.  On April 13, 2010, Kahne announced that he would be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the 2010 season.  On August 10, 2010, the Red Bull Racing Team officially announced that Kahne would drive one of their cars for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, a tenure that would start in the 2010 season after Kahne was released from RPM.  That was a one year deal as Kahne will be driving the #5 for Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2012.  Kahne managed to post a win in 2011; as he won the race held at Phoenix; one race before the season ended. In 2012 after after moving to Hendrick Motorsports Kasey had a good season; getting wins at 

Charlotte and New Hampshire and finishing fourth in the points. But since then it's been a rocky road. In 2013 Kahne won twice; but could only manage a 12th place finish in the Chase. In 2014 he had to win at the next to last race to earn a spot in the Chase; but still just finished 15th at years end. In 2015; Kahne didn't get a win at all and finished 18th in the points standings.  After a miserable 2015 season, Kahne saw more of the same in 2016.  Ten of the races he finished at least one lap down and only posted 13 top ten finishes.  He had a best finish of third at Charlotte in October.  In 2017 he pulled off a surprise win at Indianapolis to qualify him for the Chase.  You can see Kahne in victory lane in the photo at left.  You'll notice that both Kahne and Hendrick have the caps turned backwards.  Rick's son Ricky did this when he or his team won; and the HMS drivers still do it in honor and in memory of Ricky.  Still except for that one race, Kahne under 

performed, as he posted only three Top 5's all season.  Before the season came to an end Hendrick notified Kahne that he was going to drop him as a driver and he wouldn't have a ride at HMS in 2018.  Mr Hendrick did say he would help make sure he had a ride someplace in the Cup Series.  He was able to get Kahne a ride in the #95 car owned by Leavine Family Racing.  In august of that year Kahne announced that he would retire from NASCAR racing at the end of the season.  He expressed an interest to spend more time with his family.  He began having serious health issues when his body could not regulate the amount of fluids and he would get extremely dehydrated during Cup races.  Regan Smith 

started filling in for Kahne after the SOuthern 500 at Darlington.  Smith ran five races and doctors admitted they were perplexed they could not find out why Kahne had these issues; nor did they know how to combat it.  Shortly after that it was announced that Kahen would not race the rest of the season and in effect was retired.  Kahne still has plans to race in sprint and outlaw sprint car races.  He has no problems in these series because the cars are open cockpit and much shorter races.  For his career Kahne made 529 Cup starts, and won 18 times; the last being the Brickyard 400 at Indy in 2017.  He has posted 93 top five finishes.  He also has eight Xfinity wins, and five Truck series wins.  Some info from Wikipedia



ALVAH A "AL" KELLER - 4/11/1920 - 11/19/1961 - was an American race car driver.  Keller participated in the NASCAR "Strictly Stock"/"Grand National" (predecessors to the current Sprint Cup) series from 1949 to 1956 with 29 career starts.  He won two races during the 1954 season and was the first driver in the history of NASCAR's top division to have won a race in a foreign-built car, winning the 1954 Grand National road-race at the Linden Airport in New Jersey, driving a Jaguar owned by big band leader Paul Whiteman.  This was the first ever road course race in NASCAR.  Keller's other win came at Savannah, GA. wheeling a Hudson.  In 1954 Keller began a transition to Champ Cars.  He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1954-1959 and 1961 seasons with 32 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in all but the first of those years.  He was involved in the crash that killed Bill Vukovich in 1955.  He finished in the top ten 13 times, with his best finish in 2nd position, in 1956 at Atlanta and in 1961 at Milwaukee.  His best Indy finish was 5th in 1961.  Keller died as a result of injuries sustained in a fiery Champ Car crash at the Arizona State Fairgrounds track in 1961.  Some info from Wikipedia


MATT KENSETH - 3/10/1972 - - is an American stock car driver.  He is a Daytona 500 champion, having won a rain-shortened race in 2009, the first Daytona 500 win for the Roush Fenway Racing team.  Kenseth started racing at the age of 16 at several local tracks in his home state of Wisconsin.  The 1994 and 1995 seasons established Kenseth as a short track star.  Kenseth made a name for himself while driving at several Wisconsin tracks, beating nationally known drivers such as Dick Trickle and Robbie Reiser.  He raced 60 times in three different cars in 1994, winning track championships at both Wisconsin International Raceway on Thursday nights and Madison on Friday nights.  In 1997, racer Tim Bender was injured, and Bender's crew chief/car owner Robbie Reiser hired his former competitor and rival Kenseth to race for him despite having only

one Busch start.  Kenseth qualified third for the new team's first race.  He was racing in third place in the final laps when he spun and finished eleventh.  The following year he raced full-time all season. He won his first Busch Series race at Rockingham on February 22, 1998, when he nudged leader Tony Stewart's car entering the final turn of the final lap.  Kenseth made his Winston Cup series debut in 1998 at Dover, Del., filling in for Bill Elliott who had to attend his father's funeral on the day of the race.  He finished sixth, the third best debut of any driver.  The last driver before Matt to debut with a top-10 finish was Rusty Wallace in 1980 with a second place finish in Atlanta.  In 2000 Kenseth's entire team joined

the Roush Racing organization, where they beat out Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to win the Raybestos Rookie of the Year.  He won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, and is still the only rookie to win the famed 600 mile event.  In 2003 he dominated in the points standings for almost the entire season and became the 2003 NASCAR "Winston Cup" champion, the last driver to ever hold that title.  In so doing, he also became only the second Wisconsinite to win the championship (the late Alan Kulwicki was the first, in 1992).  He finished with one win, 11 top fives and a series-high 25 top-10 finishes.  After the 2003 season, Kenseth's championship became a source of controversy and criticism.  Critics of the Sprint Cup points system, most notably Roger Penske, pointed out the flaw in having a driver who won only one race out of 36 winning a championship.  Additionally, the fact that Kenseth led the points standings for an 


unprecedented 33 weeks despite only having the one victory, as well as already having clinched the Sprint Cup title with one week to go in the season (rendering the final race in essence a non-event) led to discussions on how to prevent Kenseth's feat from happening again.  As a result, 2004 saw the implementation of a new points and playoffs system titled "The Chase for the Nextel Cup" after Winston was replaced as primary sponsor of NASCAR's top series by NEXTEL.  In essence, the system created a 10 race playoff, with only the top-10 drivers in points after the first 26 races competing for the championship.  Moreover, the system placed an emphasis, and a points premium, on wins.  As a result, the term "The Matt Kenseth Rule" was coined to describe NASCAR's adoption of the current points system.  In 2004 Kenseth qualified for the inaugural NASCAR Cup, finished eighth in the final NASCAR point standings as he finished with two wins, those coming back-to-back early in the year at Rockingham and

Las Vegas.  In 2005 he qualified for the Chase for the Cup and won one race.  He finished seventh in the final points standings.  In 2006 Kenseth picked up four wins and once again made the chase.  He finished second in the points as he was beat out by Jimmie Johnson during his five year run of winning the CUP championship.  2007 and 2008 also saw Kenseth make the chase, get two wins, and finish 4th and 11th in the points.  In 2009 Kenseth missed the chase for the one and only time so far, leaving Jimmie Johnson as the only driver to make the "Chase" every year since it's inception.  Kenseth finished 14th in the points while winning twice, including the prestigous Daytona 500.  2010 had turmoil among the team as Kenseth's crew chief Drew Blickenderfer was replaced by Todd

Parrott.   Parrott would later be replaced by Jimmy Fennig.  2011 saw Kenseth get off to a strong start winning twice early; posting another win at Charlotte in the Fall and finishing fourth in points. 2012 he also posted three wins; but could only manage seventh in the points. 2013 saw Kenseth leave his long time owner Jack Roush and go to rival Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth would post seven wins and just fall short of his third CUP title as he finished second to Jimmie Johnson.  2014 was a lean year as Kenseth was shut out of the win column; but he did post 13 top five finishes. Kenseth has always been know for his laid back attitude and lack or controversy; but the latter end of 2015 found him smack dab in the middle of it. Kenseth had won five races and qualified for the elimination part of the Chase.  However he had crashed out at Charlotte and put himself into a big hole.  He was leading at Kansas very late into the race


when Joey Logano (who had already won this segment and was sure to advance into the next segment) came up behind Kenseth and spun him out with just a few laps to go; all but assuring Kenseth would not advance and get to race for the title.  Kenseth did not advance into the next segment and vowed revenge. Kenseth got damaged mid-race at Martinsville; and was running eight laps down; when leader Logano came up on Kenseth to lap him. True to his word; Kenseth stood on the gas and crashed Logano going into turn one and effectively took Logano out of title contention. NASCAR took a dim view of the retaliation and parked Kenseth for the rest of the race and the next TWO events also.  Kenseth ended 2015 in 15th in points and Logano was sixth.  The 2016 season wasn't as kind to

Kenseth as 2015 had been.  He only posted two wins (New Hampshire, Dover) and had eight top 5's.  He and all of his Joe Gibbs team mates qualified for the Chase and all of them made it down to the final eight.  Kenseth looked to be a lock to make the final round at Homestead heading into Phoenix. The first two races of round three he had finished fourth and seventh and looked good in the points standing. However, late in the race while leading on a restart he tangled with Alex Bowman and ended up finishing 21st. He just missed advancing to the final race at Homestead and finished sixth in points. For 2017, JGR got a bomb shell announcement. Kenseth team mate decided to quit racing all together and promptly retired. Daniel Suarez was brought up from the Xfinity ranks to assume his ride.  Kenseth and the rest of the JGR teams remained in tact. Kenseth ran well; but just past half way of the 2017 season; Joe Gibbs announced that Kenseth contract would not be renewed and he would have to look for a ride elsewhere. It was assume that someone with a good

resume' like Kenseth would easily be able to find a ride. But as the season wound down he was still on the outside looking in for 2018. At the next to last race of the season; Kenseth ran a great race; paced himself and pulled off what could possibly be his final win. He wheeled his Circle K sponsored Toyota to a narrow win over Chase Elliott. As 2017 closed; Kenseth was still without a ride for 2018; and said he wasn't actively pursuing one. But after Trevor Bayne had continued to struggle while driving for Jack Roush; Kenseth was hired to drive part time. He started his first race in 2018 at Kansas.  Kenseth's schedule is to start the next five races; and then various races throughout the rest of the season.  It is thought he was brought on to help the team assess any issues with the race car and provide feed back to help the Roush teams improve.  

Kenseth ran 15 of the season final 24 races and told Roush that the info that Bayne had been giving him was correct and that there wasn't a lot more he could offer.  As the season came to a conclusion the race team did show some improvement.  Kenseth did finish seventh at Phoenix and followed that with a sixth at the final race of the season at Homestead.  His career stats stand at 665 career Cup starts with 39 wins and 181 Top 5 finishes. He won such major races as the Coke 600 (2000); Daytona 500 (2009 & 2012); and the Southern 500 (2013).  He ran 288 Xfinity races while willing on 29 occasions with 139 Top 5's.  Some info from Wikipedia



ROBERT A "BOB" KESELOWSKI - 8/1/1951 - - is a former U.S. race car driver. He owns K Automotive Racing and was a competitor in the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the former NASCAR NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver.  In the ARCA series he had 24 wins, 26 poles, and won the 1989 championship.  Keselowski was one of the original drivers in the Camping World Truck Series in 1995 when it raced under the name the NASCAR SuperTruck Series.  After finishing 15th in the inaugural season, he finished 16th in the second season, and 14th the third season of the series.  Keselowski won his only NASCAR Truck race when he won the 1997 Virginia Is For Lovers 200 at Richmond International Raceway.  He ran in one CUP event in his career, that being at Pocono in 1994.  He had engine failure on lap 17 and finished 41st.  Bob is the father of CUP drivers Brad and Brian Keselowski.  Some info from Wikipedia


BRADLEY "BRAD" AARON KESELOWSKI - 2/12/1987- is an American auto racing driver currently competing in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the Sprint Cup Series and the #22 Discount Tire Company/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger in the Nationwide Series for Penske Racing.  He was previously a driver for JR Motorsports from 2007 to 2009 in the Nationwide Series and for Phoenix Racing and Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series.  He won his first championship in the 2010 Nationwide Series, the first Championship for both Brad and Penske Racing.  Keselowski began his NASCAR career in the 2004 Craftsman Truck Series season, running part-time as the driver of the #29 for his family-owned K Automotive Racing team.  In 2005, Keselowski began competing in the Truck Series full-time with backing from SUBcrews.com.  He opened the season with a career-best seventh-place finish at the Florida Dodge Dealers 250.  Running every race that season, he finished 21st in points.  In 2007, Keselowski began running in the NASCAR Busch series full time and for Rookie of the Year honors with Keith Coleman Racing, but the team suspended operations in July.  During

the 2007 racing season, Keselowski was tabbed by Germain Racing to replace Ted Musgrave. He qualified first for the Saturday night race, and led a majority of the race, but got bumped by Travis Kvapil with about nine laps to go.  Keselowski finished 16th.  Shortly afterwards, he was called by car owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr to drive his #88 United States Navy Chevrolet for JR Motorsports for the rest of the year in the Busch Series, posting five top-ten finishes.  Keselowski re-signed with JR in 2008, and got his first win came June 7, 2008 at Nashville Superspeedway.  He ended the season third in the points standings, the highest finish by a full-time Nationwide Series-only driver.  Keselowski made his Cup series debut at Texas and finished the Dickies 500 in 19th position, and 23rd in the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. 

Keselowski pulled off an upset and earned his first Sprint Cup win during the 2009 Aaron's 499 at Talladega.  In the pass through the tri-oval, Brad went high to try and fake Carl Edwards out.  When Edwards went high to block, Brad went low to pass.  Edwards went to block, but Keselowski had already moved alongside Edwards.  Edwards cut his car across the front end of Keselowski's car making himself lose control of his car in a crash that sent Edwards back into the path of Ryan Newman.  Edwards' car bounced off of Ryan Newman's hood and then up into the catch fence, injuring seven fans.  Brad Keselowski did not go down below the yellow line due to the circumstances at the race last year involving Regan Smith and the yellow line (In this race in 2008, Smith passed Tony Stewart below the yellow line to 

finish first, but lost the win, even when there was controversy over whether he was forced to move below the yellow line). Keselowski won in his fifth career start, and led his first career Sprint Cup lap, the last lap (Lap 188).  It was also the first time a driver's first ever lap led was to win the race.  In 2010, Keselowski joined Penske Racing in the NNS (NASCAR Nationwide Series) and NSCS (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series). Keselowski scored his first win in the NNS in 2010 at Talladega on April 25.  With crew chief Paul Wolfe, Keselowski won his first ever NASCAR Nationwide Series title.  In 2011, Keselowski is driving the #2 Miller Lite Dodge owned by Roger Penske.  He claimed his second CUP win at Kansas Speedway in June.  It became a fuel mileage race as Keselowski was able to save enough fuel to stay out and get the win.   During 

his victory  celebration, he ran out of fuel.  In testing at Road Atlanta he was preparing for the upcoming race at Watkins Glen.  He had a serious crash, and received a broken ankle.  The following race he won at Pocono, and went on to finish second the following week At Watkins Glen.  Two weeks later he won again at Bristol.  He made a big push starting at Pocono, to come from way out of the spots to make the Chase, to making the Chase and finished the year fifth in points.  During at streak Brad had two wins, and finished in the top 6 in seven out of eight races.  In 2012 Keselowski showed he was a man to be reconed with. He posted He made the Chase, and kicked it off with a win at Chicago; and followed that two weeks later with a win at Dover. Up until the final race at Homestead he finished every race but one eighth or better; and cruised to the 2012 CUP Championship and giving 

Roger Penske his first CUP Championship as an owner. He posted an additional eight CUP wins from 2013-2015; along with 14 Xfinity series wins in that same span. In 2016 Keselowski rebounded with four wins and fielded a strong car week after week. Even though he had another good season, the elimination rounds in the Chase were not good to him; as he was eliminated early and finished 12th in the points.  In 2017 Keselowski and his team mate Joey Logano came out of the gates strong with Brad winning two out of the first six races.  Logano won three weeks later at Richmond; but Logano failed post race tech and the win did not count for Logano advancing to the Chase.  Somehow 

BrickYard 400 win 2018

that seemed to take the wind out of the Penske cars sails, Keselowski didn't seem to struggle as badly as Logano; but he still wasn't contending for wins week after week.  He did manage to find his way through every round of the Chase all the way to Homestead; but could only muster a seventh place finish; the worst of all the drivers in the running for the Championship.  In 2018 Keselowski and Logano will be back with Penske; and they will have a new team mate as Penske has Ryan Blaney coming to drive a third Cup Series car.  On September 16, 2018 Brad Keselowski would win the Cup race at Las Vegas to claim Roger Penske's 500th win.  Keselowski had won the previous two races in the Southern 500 at Darlington and Brickyard 400 at Indy to get wins #498 and #499. He made the Chase and run well during the second round; but not good enough to advance to the third round and he finished eighth in the points. To date Keselowski has raced ten seasons, in 341 races.  He has posted 27 wins,  102 Top 5, and 167 Top 10 finishes.  Some info from Wikipedia


HAROLD KITE - 11/12/1921 - 10/17/1965 - was a NASCAR Grand National driver from East Point, Georgia.  Before his racing career, Kite drove a tank in WWII.  In his brief Sprint Cup Series career, Kite competed in nine events to earn one win and two top-ten finishes.  Kite's debut came in 1950. He started third on the Daytona Beach Road Course, Kite quickly found his way to the lead. From there, he led 38 of the 48 laps and holding off Red Byron by fifty-three seconds for the victory, winning in his first ever start.  He recorded two midpack finishes to close out the year: a 38th in the inaugural event at Darlington and a 12th place in a small field at Rockingham Speedway.  Kite's next two races would take place during the 1951 season, when he finished a career-high 25th in points. He started 38th in the history-breaking eighty-two car field at the Southern 500, Kite completed most of the laps and kept in shouting distance of the leaders to finish 6th.  Kite tacked on two more starts a few years later, making his return during the 1955 season.  Piston issues very early in the LeHi race left him 25th, and various woes kept him to 43rd place in the Darlington Southern 500.  Kite made a new approach during his solo 1956 appearance, making his first start at the tiny Shelby track.  But even the small field of seventeen could not be conquered for 

Kite, who fell a number of laps down and finished 11th.  Kite waited until 1965 to return to the sport, competing for the first time at the speedy Charlotte track.  It would be a tragic return for the driver.  Just one lap in, Kite crashed out of the race to finish 42nd.  Unfortunately, not only did Kite lose the race but also his life that day, after being hit in the driver's door by Frank Warren.  Kite was forty-three.  Kite was inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in 2011.   Some info from Wikipedia



RICKY KNOTTS - 5/23/1951 - 2/14/1980 - was an American ASA and NASCAR Winston Cup driver in his brief career, which lasted from 1974 until his 1980 death at Daytona.  Knotts was attempting to qualify for the 1980 Daytona 500 via the Twin 125's, a race to get in the 500.  Knotts was running considerably back when his hood blew off on the 15th lap of the race.  He hit the outside wall before skidding and sliding into the inside retaining wall, thoroughly destroying the car.  The 28 year-old Paw Paw, Michigan native died from injuries sustained in the crash.  Info from WikiPedia  Here is crash video from YouTube



ALAN DENNIS  KULWICKI - 12/14/1954 - 4/1/1993 - nicknamed "Special K" and the "Polish Prince", was an American Sprint Cup Series race car driver.  Kulwicki arrived at NASCAR, the highest and most expensive level of stock car racing in the United States, with no sponsor, a limited budget, and only a race car and a borrowed pickup truck.  Despite starting with meager equipment and finances, he earned the 1986 NASCAR Rookie of the Year award over drivers racing for well-funded teams.  Kulwicki raced in four NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 1984.  At the time, the Nationwide Series was considered NASCAR's feeder circuit, a proving ground for drivers who wished to step up to the organization's premiere circuit, the Sprint Cup.  Kulwicki qualified second fastest and finished in second place at his first career 

NASCAR race, which took place at the Milwakuee Mile, several city blocks from where  he grew up.  Kulwicki's Nationwide Series successes caught car owner Bill Terry's eye and he offered Kulwicki a chance to race for him in a few Winston Cup events.  In 1985, Kulwicki sold most of his belongings, including his short track racing equipment, to move approximately 860 miles to the Charlotte area in North Carolina.  He kept only a few things; his pickup truck was loaded to tow a trailer full of furniture and tools.  An electrical fire two days before he left destroyed his truck, so Kulwicki had to borrow one to pull the trailer.  After arriving in the Charlotte area, he showed up unannounced at Terry's shop ready to race.  Veteran NASCAR drivers were initially amused by Kulwicki's arrival on the national tour:  He was a driver from the northern United States when the series was primarily a southern regional series, he had an 

mechanical engineering degree when few other drivers had  completed college, and, with only six starts, had limited driving experience in the junior Nationwide series.  Kulwicki was described as very studious, hard working, no-nonsense, and something of a loner.  He frequently walked the garage area in his racing uniform carrying a briefcase.  Kulwicki made his first career Winston Cup start at Richmond on September 8, 1985, for Bill Terry's #32 Hardee's Ford, and ran five races that season.  Kulwicki started his rookie season in 1986 with Terry.  After Terry decided to end support for his racing team mid-season, Kulwicki fielded his own team.  He started out as 

essentially a one-man team in a time when other teams had dozens of people in supporting roles.  Kulwicki had difficulty acquiring and keeping crew members because he found it difficult to trust them to do the job with the excellence that he demanded, and because he was hands on in the maintenance of race cars to the point of being a "control freak".  He sought out crew members who had owned their own race cars, believing they would understand what he was going through: working long hours and performing his own car maintenance 

with a very limited budget.  Notable crew members  included his crew chief, Paul Andrews, and future Cup crew chiefs, Tony Gibson and Brian Whitesell.  Future crew chief and owner, Ray Evernham, lasted six weeks with Kulwicki in 1992. Evernham later said, "The man was a genius. There's no question. It's not a matter of people just feeling like he was a genius. That man was a genius.  But his personality paid for that.  He was very impatient, very straightforward, very cut-to-the-bone."  With one car, two engines, and two full-time crew members, Kulwicki won the 1986 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award.  For the 1987 season, Kulwicki secured primary sponsorship from Zerex Antifreeze and changed his car number to #7.  Kulwicki came 

close to winning his first Winston Cup race at Pocono, finishing second after winner Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed him on the last lap. In 1988, Kulwicki hired Paul Andrews as his crew chief after Andrews was recommended by Rusty Wallace at the 1987 NASCAR Awards banquet.  That year Kulwicki won his first NASCAR Winston Cup race in the season's second-to-last race at Phoenix International Raceway after race leader Ricky Rudd's car had motor problems late in the race. Kulwicki led 41 laps and won by 18.5 seconds.  After the race finished, he turned his car around and made a Polish Victory Lap by driving the opposite way (clockwise) on the track, with the driver's side of the car facing the fans.  "This gave me the opportunity to wave to the crowd from the driver's side", Kulwicki explained.  Andrew recalled, "He had wanted to do something special and something different for his first win 

and only his first".  Junior Johnson, owner of one of the top NASCAR teams, approached Kulwicki at the beginning of the 1990 season to ask Kulwicki to drive one of his cars.  Kulwicki declined, stating that he was more interested in running his own team.  He won his second Cup race at Rockingham on October 21, 1990, and finished eighth in points that year.  Before the 1991 season, Zerex ended their sponsorship of Kulwicki's team.  Johnson was expanding his operation to a two-car team and offered Kulwicki a ride in his second car.  Kulwicki turned down Johnson's $1 million offer, thinking that he had secured a sponsorship deal with Maxwell House coffee.  Instead, Johnson ended up securing that sponsorship for his second team, so Kulwicki began the season without a sponsor, paying expenses out of his own pocket.  Kulwicki was approached by Hooters for a one-race sponsorship deal for the fourth race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Atlanta is the corporate home of Hooters).  Kulwicki qualified on the pole position for the race.  Hooters and Kulwicki signed a one-race sponsorship agreement, followed by a long-term deal after Kulwicki finished eighth in the race.  In 1992 Kulwicki passed Dale Jarrett with 27 laps left at the Food City 500 race on April 5 at Bristol to take a narrow victory.  Discounted as a contender for the season championship during the year, Kulwicki was expected to fade from contention.  Kulwicki was quite vocal that his 278-point deficit would probably be his undoing, and that the Dover race  

result would keep him from contending for the season title.  He was quoted as saying, "This probably finishes us off in the championship deal."  On October 11, Mark Martin had a narrow victory over Kulwicki at the Mello Yello 500 at Charlotte.  For the second race in a row, points leader Bill Elliott had problems, which left six drivers within reach of the title with three races left to go.  Elliott had problems again at the second-to-last race, and his cracked cylinder head allowed race winner Davey Allison to take the points lead, with fourth place finisher Kulwicki second in season points and Elliott third.  The 1992 Hooters 500, the final race of the 1992 season, is considered one of the most eventful races in NASCAR history.  It was the final race for Richard Petty and the 

first for Jeff Gordon.  Allison led second-place Kulwicki by 30 points, Bill Elliott by 40, Harry Gant by 97, and Kyle Petty by 98 and needed to finish sixth or better to clinch the championship.  Allison was racing in sixth place, closely behind Ernie Irvan, when Irvan's tire blew with 73 (of 328) laps left in the event.  As a result, Allison ran into the side of Irvan's spinning car and his car was too damaged to continue. While leading late in the race, Andrews calculated 

the exact lap for his final pit stop so that Kulwicki would be guaranteed to lead the most laps and would gain five bonus points.  Kulwicki made his final pit stop only after leading enough laps to guarantee the bonus points.  If Kulwicki had not stayed out one extra lap to lead the most laps, the five point bonus would of went to Elliott, thus making a ten point swing in the final points.  Elliott won the race and Kulwicki stretched his fuel to finish second.  Kulwicki won the 1992 Winston Cup Championship by maintaining his 10-point lead over Elliott.  BY running one extra lap, Kulwicki won the championship.  If Elliott would of led the most laps, the points would of been tied.  If the points had been tied, Elliott would of been the 1992 Champion because the 

tie-breaker (most winsfor the season) and would of been in Elliott's favor.  He celebrated the championship with his second Polish Victory Lap.  Always conscious of his appearance for potential sponsors, Kulwicki combed his hair, making a national television audience wait for him to emerge from his car.  Kulwicki was the last owner/driver to win the title, the first Cup champion with a college degree, and the first Cup champion born in a Northern state.  The song that played during a short salute to Kulwicki at the year-end awards banquet was "My Way".  Kulwicki died in an airplane crash on Thursday April 1, 1993.  He was returning from an appearance at the Knoxville Hooters in a Hooters corporate plane on a short flight across Tennessee before the Sunday spring race at Bristol.  Killed in the crash was Kulwicki, Mark Brooks (son of Hooters owner Bob Brooks), Dan Duncan, and pilot Charles Campbell.  The National Transportation Safety Board attributed the crash to the pilot's failure to use the airplane's anti-ice system to clear ice from the engine inlet system.  Kulwicki's race car transporter was driven from the rainy track later that Friday morning while other teams and the media watched it travel slowly around the track with a black wreath on its grille.   In 2008, Kyle Petty described the slow laps as "the saddest thing I've ever seen at a racetrack...".  Three days after Kulwicki's death, Bristol race winner Rusty Wallace honored his former short track rival by performing Kulwicki's trademark Polish Victory Lap.  For his career, Kulwicki ran 207 CUP races, with five wins.  He won the CUP championship in 1992, and was voted one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest drivers in 1998.  Info from WikiPedia  Also here is an ESPN Tribute via YouTube


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