"The 10 Stupidest Moments In
By Steve Nash
The greatest events in
NASCAR history can usually find their way onto columns fast. They are
moments of greatness, superiority, luck, and above all talent. They
define the sport; they make up the foundation for the competition that
the sport is built on.
Unfortunately, the other moments never make it onto columns and lists.
No, these aren't the good, the great, or the awesome moments. Yes, they
are the dumbest moments. The total lack of judgment, and the stupidity
that certain situations have produced. The brainless and above all wacky
moments that most drivers tend to forget fast. And to celebrate NASCAR's
growing success, I've come up with a list entitled: The Ten Stupidest
Moments in Winston Cup History.
Now, before you start reading, keep in mind these are all driver-only
events. NASCAR's decision to start this year's The Winston in the rain,
or their tearing down Rusty Wallace's engine and placing it piece by
piece in a little area for other competitors to take a look-see after
his pole winning run at Sears Point last year won't make it. What will
make it? Well, just take a look down below.
10. Mike (Tyson)
Michael Waltrip, 1995 Miller Genuine Draft 400, Michigan. Mikey was set
battling for the 11th position with Lake Speed late in the event. While
trying to pass Speed, he got blocked, and run into the wall. Mikey's
temper overcame his logical sense, and following the race, he cut Speed
off on pit road, then blocked him from moving.
Michael Waltrip got out, and undid Speed's window net. Then, he punched
Speed twice in the head. Problem: Speed still had his helmet on. Not
only did Waltrip walk away with very sore knuckles, but he left with a
$10,000 fine. $5k a punch. Next time Mikey, make sure they take off
their helmet before you throw $5k around.
Ken Schrader, 1990 Heinz Southern 500, Darlington. After being spun
early in the event by Morgan Shepherd, Schrader spent a considerable
amount of time behind the wall getting repairs done to his car. After
his crew spent countless minutes working on his car, they sent Schrader
back out onto the race track, only to watch him wreck again. This time
however, the incident was no accident.
After Schrader pulled back onto the race track, he took a right hand
dive into Shepherd's car, at full speed. Schrader knocked his car hard
into the wall also, and probably got more sense knocked into him then
out. Both driver's had their day cut short, all because Kenny spent too
much time watching Days of Thunder the night before.
8. Days of Daytona
- Sacks, Petty, Cope-Pepsi 400, Daytona, 1990.
Sacks had started on the pole for the event, but NASCAR officials
discovered an intake manifold that did not meet their specs, and took it
away from Sacks. Following the green flag, Sacks quickly faded to
seventh, where he found himself in a 3-wide battle with Petty and Cope.
The three all rubbed furiously together for half a lap before they
couldn't go any longer. Sacks and Petty rubbed twice in the tri-oval,
before both lost control and slid into Cope. With the three-car spin,
just about every car behind them was approaching a roadblock. 24 cars in
all wrecked, the 2nd biggest wreck in Daytona history. Following the
wreck, Geoff Bodine summed up the whole situation; "They saw the
damn movie." He was alluding to the fact that Days of Thunder
had just been released, and we all know what the drivers did on that
7. Sailing in the
Grass - Skinner, Stewart-DieHard 500, Talladega, 1999.
Stewart was in his rookie season, and had all ready proven himself to be
a contender to win week in, week out. The story was no different at
Talladega, as he took the lead early and held it firmly. However,
Stewart lost the lead near lap 50, and was looking to get it back.
As he moved up alongside Mike Skinner for second, the two touched.
Skinner and Stewart, who were exiting turn two, all of a sudden found
themselves driving straight to the infield. Skinner kept blocking
Stewart's Pontiac, and they went into the grass at full-speed. The fact
that it had rained hard the morning before the race didn't help matters,
and Skinner lost control of his car in the wet grass. He spun back onto
the track and took out several of the front-runners.
Following the wreck, the stupidity didn't stop. Safety crews that towed
Skinner's car back to the garage found they couldn't unhook the 31's
hood from the tow truck. So a safety worker jumped on Skinner's hood,
bending the aero-efficient nose badly. Larry McReynolds, Skinner's crew
chief, also lost his sense, when he jerked the safety official off
fiercely, and nearly beat the man senseless. Larry Mac, Skinner, and
Stewart all went to the "big house", the NASCAR trailer, after the race.
But all three etched themselves in NASCAR brainless history for good.
6. Graveyard Shift-J.T.
Putney, Tiny Lund-Fonda Speedway, 1966-
Putney had started second, and quickly jumped to the front, leading the
first 31 laps. However, on lap 32 he spun off of turn two. The tiny
1/2-mile dirt track didn't have an outside retaining wall on the turns,
so he spun over the banking. Putney regathered his car into control on a
service road that led from the Erie Canal to the backstretch. Oddly
enough, the road went through a graveyard, which is where Putney drove
through before returning to the track. But by returning to the track, he
drove straight in the path of Tiny Lund, who t-boned Putney, and also
took out Bobby Allison and Lyle Stetler. Putney not only took out four
cars in his bonehead maneuver, but he was KO'd by a punch from Lund.
Lund had approached Putney following the incident in the garage area,
and knocked Putney unconscious with a right-cut to Putney's jaw. NASCAR
officials fined Lund $100.
5. Bristol Bumpin':
Dale Earnhardt-Goody’s 500, Bristol, 1995.
Dale had started near the front, and battled Rusty Wallace for a top ten
spot when he nudged Wallace's rear bumper, spinning Russell into the
wall. NASCAR disliked the move, and sent Dale to the back of the pack.
Dale obliged by spinning Lake Speed into the wall later in the race.
After Derrike Cope missed a shift on a restart, Dale rear-ended Cope
badly, enough to nearly bust Dale's radiator. But, with all this, Dale
somehow found himself in second on the white-flag lap. Leader Terry
Labonte was stuck in lapped traffic, and instead of passing Terry, he
spun him. Labonte gassed his Chevy, and slid across the finish line
doing a 180. Terry then hit the wall head-on, but took the checkers.
After the race was over, Dale didn't get any fines from NASCAR, but he
did get a water bottle thrown at his nose by Rusty Wallace.
Richmond: Dale Earnhardt-Miller High Life 400, Richmond, 1986.
Dale again put himself in a high position, this time while battling
Darrell Waltrip for the lead with three to go at the old Richmond
Fairgrounds Raceway. As Darrell made a move to the inside of Dale off
turn two, he started to get most of his car clear of Earnhardt, except
the rear bumper.
That was all Dale needed, as he tagged Darrell Waltrip's right rear
quarter panel, sending Darrell Waltrip head on into the wall. Dale
wrecked, also, as did the next three cars in line. Kyle Petty, who was
motoring along in fifth before the brawl, snaked his way through the
wreck, and found himself in first. It was Petty's first career win, in
one of the most bizarre endings to any Winston Cup race.
3. Tony the Temper:
Stewart, Irwin-NAPA Auto Care 500, Martinsville, 1999.
Stewart was in the top-five for most of the first half of the race, and
showed himself capable of possibly winning. While racing around the
tight confines of Martinsville, he found himself stuck behind the lapped
car of Kenny Irwin. Instead of waiting several laps to pass, he simply
spun Irwin out.
A few laps later after a restart, Irwin returned the favor to Stewart,
spinning him out. It was only beginning. Stewart then tried a little
later to spin Irwin, but failed to accomplish his goal. As Stewart was
ahead of Irwin entering turn one, Kenny never let off, and spun Stewart
hard into the outside wall. Tony's day was done, but his actions
He waited for Irwin to pass by his wrecked car, where he jumped into the
open left side window area, and punched Irwin twice. He also through his
foot guards at him. $10,000 was levied against Stewart, and Tony was
just beginning his temperamental career.
2. Swervin' Irvan: Ernie
Irvan, Ken Schrader-TranSouth 500, Darlington, 1990.
1990 had three stupid moments, this one the highest and most devastating
of them all. Irvan had lost several laps in the pits while his crew was
placing an internal problem on his #4 Chevy. After he got out of the
pits, Ernie found himself ten laps down. His owner Larry McClure
instructed Ernie to race as hard as he could, so his driver did so.
Following a restart, leader Ken Schrader and Irvan raced side-by-side
for several laps. The fun stopped soon thereafter. Coming out of turn
two, Irvan's car broke loose, and he tagged Schrader's Chevy. Both cars
spun, and the frontstretch became a junkyard.
Several cars wrecked, including Neil Bonnett. Bonnett's Ford hit hard
head-on into the wall, and Bonnett was knocked out. The effects of being
unconscious were bad, he suffered a long period of amnesia. It all but
ended his driving career.
The number one moment has now arrived.
This moment was very controversial in its time, and may still have some
effects lingering still. While the two drivers involved have made up,
the fans may not have.
Now, before you scroll down to see what it was, I do want to say there
were many moments that didn't get put in here that could have. Such as
Cale Yarborough's bonehead move thinking the race was over in 1984
during the Pepsi Firecracker 400, and coming down pit road. He lost
second place in the process, but made it back on the track to finish
third. Now, I'm sure a lot of people think I've unfairly biased myself
against everyone by not putting Mark Martin's 1994 BGN Bristol bonker in
I was going to, if it wasn't BGN. If you look back at the first column,
you'll see "Winston Cup" written out. I hope that ends the argument.
Now, for more bonehead moves, Jimmy Spencer spinning Ken Schrader under
yellow at North Wilkesboro, Joe Nemechek running full-speed into Steve
Park at Charlotte in turn one, taking out four cars. LeeRoy Yarbrough
pitting with two to go thinking his crew ordered him to pit in the
Daytona 500, giving the win to dumbfounded Cale Yarborough. Moments like
that, however, didn't make the top-ten.
Now, there's one moment many people may think I am talking about as #1
that I'm not. No, the 1999 Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol, with
Earnhardt's spinning Terry Labonte didn't make the list. Why did Dale's
'95 make it? Because Dale was even more blatant in his attempts to
wreck. Too many people say Dale didn't mean to wreck Terry for it to be
completely legit in '99, but it was easy to tell his '95 one was. Now
for that moment you've been waiting for...the number one stupidest move
in Winston Cup history...
1. Tide Slide-Rusty
Wallace, Darrell Waltrip-The Winston-Charlotte, 1989.
Darrell Waltrip had dominated the all-star event, and was getting close
to winning the coveted first place prize of $200,000. But coming out of
turn four towards the white flag, Rusty Wallace sneaked his way up to
DW's rear bumper. Russell, in a move he himself now says was pretty
stupid, blatantly and obviously voluntarily ran into Waltrip hard enough
to spin the three-time champ out.
The caution flew before Rusty made it to the line, so they restarted the
race with one to go. DW and company argued that since they restarted
from the last full lap, he should be put up front. NASCAR said no, DW
had to start at the rear. He stormed up to eighth, but had too little
time to deal with. Rusty ran to the checkers, then got a barrage of
chicken bones, beer cans, and extended middle fingers shown his way.
As Wallace drove through the garage area to victory lane, the two crews
scuffled, setting off a wild fight with at least 25 people involved.
Waltrip stormed out of his car angrily, and when the media shoved their
mikes in Darrell Waltrip's face, he uttered the infamous "I hope he
chokes on that 200 grand" line.
Wallace lost several fans that day, while Darrell, once the most hated
driver on the circuit, gained several. It was a turning point in Darrell
Waltrip's career, as he would win many fans, something Darrell Waltrip
has been proud about ever since. Rusty has had a hard time gaining back
all the fans he lost that May Day in 1989, but he's got a good number of
So the Steve Nash Stupidest Winston Cup Moment goes to Russell William
Wallace. Go ahead Rusty, thank Tide.
Copyright © 2003
by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised:
01/19/13 21:42:30 -0500.
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