Alan Kulwicki

AIan Kulwicki’s success in the 1992 Winston Grand National Cup was the stuff of dreams.

A NASCAR debutant in 1985, he collected the Rookie of the Year accolade the following season. A qualified mechanical engineer, Kulwicki always ran his own show, determined to prove that he could take on, and beat, the establishment. He won his first race at Phoenix, in 1988. Kulwicki Racing peaked last season, when an incredible run of late-season form brought Alan the NASCAR title. No fewer than six drivers stood a chance of taking the title when the series concluded in Atlanta. Kulwicki’s Ford Thunderbird lost the lead on the final lap, but second place, behind Bill Elliott, was enough. The 38 year-old from Wisconsin had realised his ambition.

The private ‘plane in which he crashed, fatally, en route to the sixth round of this year’s NASCAR series at Bristol was, ironically, one of the fruits of his recent success.

American motor racing is all the poorer for the loss of a dedicated, and popular, competitor.