Two PIR Races Among NASCAR's 50 Greatest

Two Phoenix Races Among NASCAR's 50 Greatest

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Historic celebrations mark top PIR events
Of the 2210 races contested at NASCAR's top level since the sport's dawn in 1949, two Sprint Cup Series events from Phoenix International Raceway rank among the top 50 of all time, according to a NASCAR Media Group report. Now, you can make your favorite Phoenix race No. 1. In 1988, Alan Kulwicki kicked off a long history of Cup racing in the Valley of the Sun by winning the inaugural Checker 500 at PIR. The victory, Kulwicki's first in a career which included five trips to Victory Lane and the 1992 series championship, is remembered greatly for the Wisconsin native's celebration: the "Polish Victory Lap." After leading the final 16 laps and holding off Terry Labonte and Davey Allison, Kulwicki drove clockwise around PIR's mile-long oval and waved to the tens of thousands of fans in attendance for PIR's first foray into hosting NASCAR's top level. Jeff Gordon had not won a Sprint Cup event at PIR in his first 16 tries, a streak which stretched from 1993 - his rookie season - to 2006. No. 17 was lucky for No. 24 in April 2007, though, as Gordon edged Tony Stewart after a late-race, door-to-door battle for control of the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™. The win was the 76th of Gordon's career, tying him for sixth all-time on NASCAR's win list with Dale Earnhardt. Gordon celebrated in the most memorable fashion since Kulwicki, waving a black No. 3 flag from his Chevrolet's window to honor the Intimidator. Race fans can vote for the greatest race in NASCAR history at Tickets to witness another season of fast PIR action can be purchased online at, or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223).

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