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Top Five NASCAR Championship Wins: A Fan’s Take
NASCAR has implemented several different ways of determining a champion over the years. It has always had something to do with points, but how those points were calculated has drastically changed over the years. Although the calculations changed, the spirit and the thrill of the chase never died. As we are approaching the end of the 2011 Chase for the Cup, here are my top five most memorable championship wins.
In 1960, Rex White had one of the larger margins of victory in the NASCAR Grand National, now Sprint Cup, Series Championship. White won with an impressive 3,936 point advantage over Richard Petty. With six wins and 29 other top ten finishes in the 40 races he started, White dominated the sport in 1960. He left the season with a record breaking $45,000 in winnings.
In 1965, Ned Jarrett won the NASCAR Grand National Championship. What was most memorable about his victory was a record he set that year at Darlington Raceway in the Southern 500. This is the race he won by 14 laps, or just over 19 miles, over the second place finisher. The amount of miles between first and second place is still in the record books as the largest margin of victory. That was a very strange race with only 15 of the starting 44 cars finishing the race. His victory at Darlington was just one example of his dominance over the 1965 season.
In 1967, Richard Petty's NASCAR Grand National Championship victory was no surprise to anyone following the sport. It was the year that he won a record 27 of 48 races. Of those 27 races, 10 of them were consecutive victories, which was also a record. Neither record is likely to be broken anytime soon. He won the championship by a margin of over 6,000 points. His dominance in the sport had been well established, but this was an incredible run for the driver. The victory that year was memorable because of Petty's sheer domination of the season. Over the course of his career, Petty would rack up an incredible 200 victories.
In 1985, Richie Evans won the very first, and his only, NASCAR Winston Modified Tour Championship, now called the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. This win was memorable because the championship was awarded posthumously. Just before the season ended, but after he clinched the championship, Evans was practicing for the final race at Martinsville Speedway when he was killed in a crash. During his career, Evans had been tearing up the track in the NASCAR National Modified Tour by winning nine championships in a row. Evans has been selected to enter the NASCAR Hall of Fame and will be formally inducted in January of 2012.
In 1992, Alan Kulwicki won the championship by one of the closest margins in NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, history. This year also saw one of the most exciting finishes. It all came down to the wire in this season and ended in spectacular fashion at the Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The points leader, Davey Allison, was out of the race for the championship early in the race due to a crash. Although second place Bill Elliott, who was neck and neck with third place Kulwicki in the points, won, Kulwicki led one more lap than Elliott and he won the championship by ten points. In 1993, both Kulwicki and Allison died in helicopter crashes.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliot and newcomer Davey Allison.
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