The 1990’s were a special decade for Talladega Superspeedway. During those 10 years, race fans witnessed the fastest race in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) history, seven of Dale Earnhardt’s ten Talladega wins and some of the closest finishes ever recorded.
It was Earnhardt who welcomed in the 90’s with a pair of wins in the 1990 Winston 500 and DieHard 500. Both races featured the kind of close finishes that Talladega Superspeedway is known for. The Intimidator beat Bill Elliott to the line by only two car lengths in the Winston 500 and Greg Sacks by an even narrower 0.26 seconds in the DieHard 500.
Earnhardt took close finishes to the extreme in 1993, when he nipped Ernie Irvan at the line by approximately 6 inches, or 0.005 seconds, in the DieHard 500. The win broke a two race win streak at Talladega for Irvan and is ranked as the second-closest NASCAR Sprint Cup finish in Series’ history.
While Earnhardt racked up victories by the narrowest of margins in the 90’s, Mark Martin would write his name into the history books by winning the fastest race ever run in NASCAR. The caution-free 1997 Winston Select 500 had an average race speed of 188.354 mph, only 5 mph slower than the pole qualifying speed set by John Andretti.
In a fitting display of symmetry, Earnhardt closed out the 90’s the same way he opened them, with a pair of close wins. Earnhardt bested Dale Jarrett in the 1999 DieHard 500 by 0.137 seconds. Jarrett would again fall to Earnhardt later that year in the Winston 500. This time however, he narrowed the gap to an even closer 0.114 seconds. It truly was an exciting end to an exciting decade, at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track.
In 2009, Talladega Superspeedway proudly celebrates forty years of the most competitive racing in NASCAR. While the track has seen changes made to the cars that circle its high-banks, the surface that they race on and the grandstands that thousands of fans fill twice a year, one constant remains; Talladega Superspeedway is authentic NASCAR racing at its finest.
Race fans should make plans now to experience part of Talladega’s history in 2009 during the triple-header, Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 24-26, featuring the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.