• 12/27/2011, 01:08PM ET

Best NASCAR Championship race of all time

CuntryBlumpkin (305-247-64) vs Rudedog: Believe The Hype (370-317-81)

To me this comes down to two years. 2011 and 1992.

While, 2011 is fresh on the minds of all NASCAR fans as it was the most recent, I am going with 1992.

Heading into Atlanta, the final race of the season, 3 drivers were well in the Championship hunt.

Before the Atlanta race, the points were...

1. Davey Allison
2. Alan Kulwicki -30
3. Bill Elliott - 40

During the final race, points leader, Davey Allison was caught in an early wreck, leaving the championship battle to go between Kulwicki and Elliott.

After 500 miles, Bill Elliott won the race, with Alan Kulwicki finishing second, but Alan Kulwicki won the championship by 10 points.

If Bill Elliott would have lead one more lap, he would have been the champion. Alan Kulwicki lead one more lap the Elliott, which gave Kulwicki the 5 point bonus for leading the most laps instead of Elliott.

Alan Kulwicki won the championship with an extra lap lead.

If Elliott would have lead one more lap, the standings would have been a tie, and Elliott would have won the tiebreaker and been the 1992 champion.

The Chase this season was great, but it wasn't near as good as the 92 Championship run.

Sorry for the delay UH, but I think you're wrong here.

While we may not like the Chase, I think it did exactly what it was designed to do this year. It gave fans an exciting "playoff-like" feel.

Coming into the last race, Carl Edward and Tony Stewart were 1-2 for the point title, separated by just 3 points.

Stewart was red-hot in the Chase, winning 4 times heading into the final race to close the gap against Edwards. In the final race itself, Stewart went balls to the wall and pulled out all the stops. Despite not once, but twice falling to the back of the pack, Stewart surged to the front. That stat of the year should be 118, which is the number of cars Stewart passed during the race, a mind-bogging stat considering there's only 42 other cars and not every car races the whole race, obviously.

And, as the race went along, Edwards was near the top all along, eventually receiving the bonus points for leading the most laps. However, Stewart won the race with Edwards finishing second, ending the race in a tie, which is the first and only time it's happened. The tiebreaker awarded Tony the title based on Chase wins. Unbelievable.


I'm not gonna sit here and say the Chase last year wasn't exciting because I'd be lying, but without the aid of the Chase, Tony Stewart is eliminated from the title hunt with 10 races left, and Carl Edwards wins the Championship going away.

And with the new points system in use for this year's Chase, it made the points closer than they actually were. I can't find what the standings would have been, but I guarantee it doesn't end in a tie, and probably is around 10 points, like 1992 was.

Difference being, in 1992 the Championship race was that close after 29 races. In 2011, it was that close after only 10 races. When it's less than a third of a season being counted, the points should be closer.

Heading into Homestead, there were only two drivers that could win the championship, 3-12 were eliminated.

In 1992, there were 3, and the points leader, Davey Allison needed a top 5 finish to win it all, he was dominant early in the race before getting caught in a crash.

After that, we had what many consider one of the greatest races of all time.

A championship decided by one extra lap lead is just crazy, and will likely never happen again.

You know what's crazier than a championship decided by one lap? A championship that ended in a tie and was decided by a tiebreaker.

I ran out of room last argument to put it up, but the emphasis I wanted to make was on the fact that this race ended in a tie. While 1992 had more drivers eligible to win it, the fact that the 2011 championship ended in a damn tie is ridiculous.

And the fact that, despite being put to the back of the pack, Stewart still won the race is incredibly impressive. In fact, the two guys eligible finished 1-2 in the race. If Stewart had fallen back one spot, he loses the Chase. With Edwards right behind him, the only way Stewart could have won the Chase is if he won the race.

Just take a step back and realize that the two drivers who finished 1-2 in the Chase standings finish 1-2 in the final race of the year. And it took a Superman-like effort from Stewart to win the race. While the stat isn't often kept or announced, passing 118 cars is crazy. That's passing the other 42 cars nearly three times over.

Stewart's superhero effort in the final race to finish it in a tie is better.

It ended in a tie after only 10 races. Genrally, through the course of a season, the points spread out more. Back before the Chase, more often than not, everyone pretty much knew who would win the championship halfway through the season.

But in 1992, much like the 2011 Chase, it was extremely close after 29 races.

If Davey Allison doesn't get collected in an Ernie Irvan spin, chances are, he is the champion in 92, but in the end the two drivers that could capitalize on Allison's misfortune finished 1-2.

If Elliott would have lead one more lap in the race, we would have had the same scenario with a tie, and Elliott getting the tiebreaker. In fact, both Elliott and Kulwicki lead the same amount of green flag laps. Kulwicki lead one more lap under caution, and it turns out that was the difference in the championship.

A championship decided by a single lap after 29 races is more exciting and a better championship run than the points ending in a tie after just 10 races.

What Stewart and Edwards did was great, but it wasn't enough to top the 92 championship battle.

With the Chase, drivers aren't necessarily looking to race hard for 36 races. They set themselves up for the final 10 races.

And that's exactly what Stewart did. He won 4 of the first 9 races coming into the last race. And what's most amazing about that is that, in spite of that, Edwards was still in the lead heading into that last race.

I've talked about the last race itself, which was such a great race. I consider myself a casual NASCAR fan, but I don't watch any race on a typical basis than the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. The build-up and ramifications of this race was enough to get me to turn in. As a Stewart hater, I was rooting for him to come back in this race simply to make it fun and interesting.

And really, does it get more fun and interesting than it ending in a tie? Literally, that meant one slip up by Stewart and the title isn't his. One time of him going through the field and getting bumped and it's all over. That's what makes him passing nearly 120 cars just mind-boggingly impressive.

1992 was great and all, but 2011 was better

December 27, 2011  01:13 PM ET

Big time shame, two of the three drivers involved in the 92 championship hunt died the next year.

RIP Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison.

December 29, 2011  01:09 PM ET

Actually Uh in '92 there were 5 drivers mathematically in the hunt for the championship, Harry Gant and Mark Martin being the other two. But that was based on math that needed Allison, Kulwicki and Elliott to finish in the last 3 spots in the race in order.

December 29, 2011  03:12 PM ET

This is a tuff one, will try back in a whle.

December 29, 2011  03:25 PM ET

Now being an old cuss,I remember the race,,and agree it was a grand race to watch,,this chase was damn good, but liked the 92 championship the best,,,you damn right UH,, RIP Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison.

December 29, 2011  10:42 PM ET

cant vote because they're about equal.. no argument is going to change my mind

January 1, 2012  07:27 PM ET

"A championship decided by a single lap after 29 races is more exciting and a better championship run than the points ending in a tie after just 10 races."

I did some initial research into this TD... I think that's the key point. Focusing on the final race didn't quite counter. Edge, like the Sprint Cup, on the left turn.


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