1992 was Alan Kulwicki’s underdog year. He was not only a driver but an owner as well.
When the season started, Kulwicki looked like one driver who didn’t have a shot at winning the championship. If being an owner and a driver isn’t stressful enough, Kulwicki thought he had a big sponsor in Maxwell House locked down in 1991, but he ended up losing the sponsorship to Junior Johnson’s team.
So 1992 didn’t look like it was going to be Kulwicki’s year.
He barely made it to the Daytona 500 and had to accept a provisional spot at the last row of the starting field. He ended up rallying from a 41st start and finished in fourth once the Daytona race ended.
Kulwicki’s 1992 season was all about rallying back and never giving up.
With six races left in the season, Kulwicki trailed the point’s leader, Bill Elliot, by 278 points. He had no chance of catching up to the leader, unless Elliot ran into major trouble.
Luck ended up being on Kulwicki’s side, as Elliot and the Johnson team ran into mechanical problems that let the other contenders catch up.
Everything came down to the last race of the season as six drivers had a shot to win the championship. Eventually, four out of the six were knocked out of the race, and it came down to just Kulwicki and Elliot.
They battled back and forth through the second half of the race, and by the time the white flag waved, Elliot had won the race.
But Kulwicki won the championship.
Leading one more lap than Elliot, Kulwicki finished 10 points ahead of Elliot and won the Winston Cup title.
Kulwicki overcame the largest point deficit in NASCAR history. He was a clear underdog entering the 1992 season but managed to turn his bad luck around and walk away with the title.