THE DON HUNTER COLLECTION
ALL-STAR MOMENTS - FEUDIN'
It was in 1987 that The Winston first gained a reputation for providing thrills, spills and hard feelings, which in turn sealed forever Dale Earnhardt's reputation as The Intimidator. Geoff Bodine and Earnhardt got together in the early laps of the race, but somehow managed to maintain control of their cars. Not until the final 10-lap segment did the fireworks really start.
Going into turn one moments after the start of the shootout, Earnhardt (3) made contact with Bill Elliott (9, partially hidden). That caused Elliott to get into Bodine, who looped his car into the spin shown here. Amazingly, nobody made contact with Bodine, and he was able to continue.
When the green flag came back out, Elliott was all over Earnhardt, and the two repeatedly banged fenders. With seven laps to go, Elliott tried to get under Earnhardt, whose car bobbled into the infield grass on the frontstretch. Miraculously, Earnhardt kept his foot in the throttle, came back onto the racing surface without ever losing the lead. It was the Pass in the Grass that wasn't actually a pass.
Less than a lap later, Earnhardt carried Elliott high between turns three and four and nearly into the wall. The contact caused Elliott to have a flat tire a couple of laps later. Earnhardt won, leaving both Elliott and Bodine absolutely livid. Both drivers bumped Earnhardt on the track after the checkered flag.
This is the very moment that Darrell Waltrip went from one of the sport's most despised drivers to one of its most beloved characters.
For years, Waltrip had been NASCAR's bad boy, so much so that he once invited those who booed him to a fight down at the local Kmart parking lot. After moving to Hendrick Motorsports and landing Tide as a sponsor, Waltrip's image began to soften. He won his first Daytona 500 in 1989, and went into that season's The Winston as a favorite.
Waltrip led Rusty Wallace through turns three and four on the next-to-last lap, but Wallace (27) spun Waltrip coming off the corner and eventually took the win. Afterward, their crews tangled in the garage. Fans booed Wallace unmercifully ... and Waltrip became good ol' D.W.
Not since 1955 had a superspeedway race been run under the lights, but that didn't stop officials at Charlotte Motor Speedway. A lighting system in place, anticipation and speculation over the 1992 edition of The Winston was ramped up that much more. It surely didn't disappoint.
Leader Dale Earnhardt spun between turns three and four on the last lap, allowing Kyle Petty to take the advantage. As they exited turn four, Davey Allison dove under Petty. With Allison slightly ahead, the two drivers made contact as they flashed under the checkered flag. Allison crashed, hitting the outside retaining wall flush on the driver's side. Instead of a trip to victory lane, Allison spent the night in a local hospital while suffering from a concussion and bruised lung.