‘Race with Destiny’ Chronicles One of the Greatest Days in NASCAR

Credit: Paula Thompson
When does one single race define a season? When that race took place on November 15th, 1992 – a day that may be the most pivotal day NASCAR’s Cup Series has ever seen.

Those of us who witnessed the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup know we saw some amazing racing, a battle that came down to a tie-breaker in the last race of the season. For those of us who remember the 1992 Winston Cup season, the 2011 battle reminded us of the 1992 Hooters 500, the race labeled by the late David Poole as the “Race with Destiny.”

Poole, who covered NASCAR for the Charlotte Observer for more than a dozen years until his unexpected death in April 2009, took on the task of recreating this historic day in NASCAR, a day that saw one amazing career end, one begin, and an incredible battle that started with six drivers having a chance to win the championship – two of whom would sadly be competing in their last championship battle.

The cast of characters was a who’s-who of NASCAR at the time – with the exception of one young rookie. “The King” Richard Petty ended his “Fan Appreciation Tour” that day, the same day a young man later labeled “Wonder Boy” by Dale Earnhardt – Jeff Gordon – made his Cup Series debut. Also on the table: a six-man battle for the Winston Cup featuring drivers from all walks of NASCAR life – “The King’s” son, Kyle Petty; another driver with a famous father, Davey Allison; two hard chargers, Mark Martin and Harry Gant; the still-quiet, in spite of already having the 1988 title under his belt, Bill Elliott; and the driver who bucked the NASCAR system, independent college-educated Wisconsin native Alan Kulwicki.

This book covers weekend events leading up to this amazing race, as well as the race itself, the awards dinner and the first half of the 1993 season, one of NASCAR’s most tragic as the sport lost both its defending champion (Kulwicki) and the third-place driver (Allison) in separate aviation accidents by the middle of July. It’s an insider’s look at the sport’s history as only a writer with Poole’s access could convey it.

Hollywood couldn’t write a story like this – it could only come from the world of NASCAR.

‘Race with Destiny’ and many of the other books you’ll see reviewed in Race Fan’s Book Shelf are available to purchase from Coastal 181 (http://www.coastal181.com/).
‘Race with Destiny’ Chronicles One of the Greatest Days in NASCAR ‘Race with Destiny’ Chronicles One of the Greatest Days in NASCAR Reviewed by Paula on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 Rating: 5