The 1990 NASCAR Winston Cup season arrived with NASCAR's wheels churning progressively forward. Several motivated, energetic, youthful drivers were pressing the seasoned veterans for membership in the elite status of NASCAR Winston Cup racing. A number of the old warriors were conceding to Father Time as they fell further and further behind the newcomers, and the heated race for the championship would be decided by only 26 points.
See the following article to see pictures and read about the highlights of this exhilarating season, then take a look at the final standings of the 1990 NASCAR Winston Cup season.
February 18, 1990: Daytona 500
Derrike Cope proved his Daytona 500 victory was no fluke by steering the #10 Purolator Chevrolet to a convincing win in the June 3 Budweiser 500 at Dover Downs International Speedway. Cope ran down Rusty Wallace with 55 laps remaining and drove to his second career NASCAR Winston Cup win. Dale Earnhardt's engine blew just 23 laps into the race. Earnhardt's troubles allowed Morgan Shepherd to take the championship points lead. See more pictures of NASCAR.
February 25, 1990: Pontiac Excitement 400
Mark Martin finishes first at Richmond, leading the final 16 laps of the Pontiac Excitement 400. Martin's Roush Racing Ford is docked 46 points and crew chief Robin Pemberton is fined $40,000 when NASCAR officials find an unapproved carburetor spacer plate. Martin is allowed to keep the win.
March 4, 1990: GM Goodwrench 500
Kyle Petty wins the GM Goodwrench 500 at North Carolina Motor Speedway and pockets $284,550. The total includes $220,400 in Unocal 76 money that goes to a driver who wins the pole and the race.
April 1, 1990: TranSouth 500
Dale Earnhardt edges Mark Martin to win the TranSouth 500 at Darlington, an event in which veteran Neil Bonnett is injured after a 212th-lap crash. Bonnett suffers a concussion and amnesia.
Darrell Waltrip failed to score a NASCAR Winston Cup victory in the 1990 season for the first time since 1974. The three-time champion was injured in a practice accident in July at Daytona, forcing him to miss six races. His best finish was a runner-up effort at North Wilkesboro's April 22 First Union 400. He logged 11 other top-10 finishes in his abbreviated campaign.
April 8, 1990: Valleydale Meats 500
Davey Allison noses out Mark Martin in a photo finish to win the Valleydale Meats 500 at Bristol International Raceway. The margin of victory is listed as eight inches.
April 22, 1990: First Union 400
Brett Bodine drives Kenny Bernstein's Buick to his first career NASCAR Winston Cup win in the First Union 400 at North Wilkesboro.
Rusty Wallace thoroughly dominated the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Driving Raymond Beadle's #27 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac, Wallace led the final 91 laps and easily disposed of the 42-car field. Wallace had already announced he would break his association with Beadle's team in 1991.
June 10, 1990
Rusty Wallace tames the field on the twisting road course in Sonoma, Calif., for his fifth win in his last seven starts on road courses. Mark Martin finishes second as the race ends under the yellow flag.
July 7, 1990: Pepsi 400
A 24-car crash on the second lap depletes the Pepsi 400 field and Dale Earnhardt breezes to an easy win at Daytona International Speedway.
Number 27 Rusty Wallace leads #26 Brett Bodine, #21 Morgan Shepherd, and a hungry pack off Pocono's flat third turn during the June 17 Miller Genuine Draft 500. Harry Gant, pictured at the rear of this shot, stormed through the field, nabbed Wallace with 12 laps to go, and scored a popular victory. Gant's victory ended a personal 14-month winless skid and made him the oldest driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race at the age of 50 years, 158 days.
August 25, 1990: Busch 500
Ernie Irvan passes Dale Earnhardt in the final 50 miles and speeds to his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory in Bristol's Busch 500.
September 30, 1990: Tyson Holly Farms 400
Mark Martin wins the Tyson Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, and rookie driver Rob Moroso finishes 21st. A few hours after the race, Moroso and another motorist are killed in a highway accident.
Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace lead the field off pit road during the pace lap for the March 18 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 at Atlanta International Raceway. Earnhardt won the race with a nifty three-abreast pass on Morgan Shepherd with two laps remaining. Earnhardt manhandled the field, leading for 216 of the 328 laps, but he needed a rally at the finish to overtake Shepherd and nab his 40th career NASCAR Winston Cup victory.
November 4, 1990: Checker 500
Dale Earnhardt leads all but the first 50 laps as he dominates the 312-mile Checker 500 at Phoenix. Earnhardt takes the points lead as leading contender Mark Martin struggles to finish 10th.
November 18, 1990
Morgan Shepherd wins the season finale at Atlanta as Dale Earnhardt finishes third and captures his fourth NASCAR Winston Cup title. Mike Ritch, a crewman for Bill Elliott's team, is fatally injured when he is hit on pit road.
Continue to the next page to see the final standings of the 1990 NASCAR Winston Cup season.
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1990 NASCAR Winston Cup StandingsDale Earnhardt and Mark Martin battled down to the wire for the 1990 NASCAR Winston Cup championship, and Earnhardt took his fourth title in the final two races of the season.
1990 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt
Martin led the standings from June through October, but Earnhardt rallied with a win at Phoenix and a third-place effort in the finale at Atlanta, and prevailed by 26 points over Martin.
Martin's loss was bitter for his Jack Roush team. Martin won at Richmond in February, but NASCAR officials discovered that his carburetor spacer was 1/2 inch too thick. The team was fined $40,000 and stripped of 46 points.
In October, Earnhardt left the pits at Charlotte with the left-side wheels unattached, and they flew off in the first turn. His pit crew ran out to the car and secured the tires in place, ignoring a NASCAR official's command to stay away from the car. Rules state that a pit crew can't work on a car when it is on the racing surface. Earnhardt rejoined the race without losing much time. NASCAR considered imposing a penalty, but none was given, and Earnhardt went on to win the title.
For the full standings for the 1990 NASCAR Winston Cup season, see the chart below.
1990 NASCAR Winston Cup Standings
||Bobby Hillin, Jr.
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