1992 Hooters 500 – the 500 stands for compelling stories
How could this race not end up on top? There were so many storylines that day: Richard Petty’s last race, Jeff Gordon’s first and six drivers with a mathematical chance at the ’92 Cup title, including what amounted to a David vs. Goliath showdown for all the marbles. Here’s the finish, but if you really want a story, watch the whole thing.
Harvick Fills Some Giant Shoes
If you want races that produced raw emotion, then look no further than the 2001 spring event. Rookie Kevin Harvick, in the unenviable position of driving the newly-renumbered No. 29 that had just two weeks prior still been Dale Earnhardt’s ride, held off eventual season champion Jeff Gordon for his first Cup win. Here’s the end of that race and Harvick’s reflection on the day.
Before Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the season finale, the title was decided at Atlanta, and in 1996, it all came down to two drivers for Hendrick Motorsports: young gun Jeff Gordon and veteran Terry Labonte, who held a slim lead going into the race. Labonte, driving injured, had a championship, but it had come in 1984. Gordon, meanwhile was 25, entering his prime and defending his 1995 title. Meanwhile, another driver was gunning for the win, namely Labonte’s little brother Bobby. Bobby prevailed on the day, Terry prevailed for the season and the two brothers circled the track together in celebration. Here, the brothers look back at the day they have both called their best in racing.
Move over, Jimmie…
Carl Edwards may have hung up his helmet before this season, but in 2005, he was just getting started. He took his first win at Atlanta in thrilling fashion, beating red-hot young gun Jimmie Johnson in a shootout to the finish line.
That Oh, $#^% Moment
Finally, Atlanta has played host to some pretty spectacular mishaps as well. In the first clip, Steve Grissom takes a wicked hit, sending the fuel cell from his car up the track into traffic; he emerged OK. Open-wheel cars have also raced the high-speed track, and the second clip shows a scary moment when Casey Mears got airborne in a multi-car pileup, skimming over the car of Al Unser Jr., close enough to leave tire tracks on Unser’s helmet. Both drivers were relatively unscathed. Finally, payback has been a part of racing for as long as cars have circled the track. Here’s one that certainly got the point across, when Carl Edwards sent Brad Keselowski flying after an earlier incident that had sent the former to the garage for many laps.
About the author
Amy is an 18-year veteran NASCAR writer and a five-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found filling in from time to time on The Frontstretch 5 (Wednesdays) and her monthly commentary Holding A Pretty Wheel (Thursdays). A New Hampshire native living in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.
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