Two years after the dark ending to the 1990 season, NASCAR was in the midst of its greatest title chase in history. Six drivers entered the race with a mathematically chance at the championship. Davey Allison was the points leader, holding a 30-point edge over Alan Kulwicki, 40 points over Bill Elliott. Harry Gant, Kyle Petty and Mark Martin were further behind, but still alive with 500 miles to race.
While the championship race would be the main focus, two other storylines were in play this day. Richard Petty's farewell tour was coming to an end. After more than four decades of full-time competition, Petty was set for his final Winston Cup start.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a young rookie named Jeff Gordon was set to make his first. After earning three Busch Series victories on the season, Gordon was signed to race for Hendrick Motorsports in 1993. The team debuted the rainbow-colored no. 24 for the final race of 1992.
Richard Petty was the first to find trouble, hitting the wall early on in the race. His team would make repairs, and the King returned to the track, minus a hood, to finish the race in 35th.
Mark Martin was the race's next victim, falling out with engine failure on lap 160. Gordon would find the wall four laps later, finishing 32nd.
Allison looked to have the title in hand until lap 254 when Ernie Irvan lost control his car and spun into Allison's Ford. The wreck opened the door for Kulwicki and Elliott, and the two put on one of the greatest shows in NASCAR history.
Elliott would win the race, but Kulwicki would win the championship because of the five extra bonus points for leading the most laps, 103 to Elliott's 102.
Kulwicki's 10-point championship victory was the closest in NASCAR history until 2011 and the last for a driver who was sole owner of his own car.
The championship battle combined with the changing of the guard created a race like no other, a race that changed the course of NASCAR history forever.