NASCAR drivers celebrate victories in many ways
Published 9:05 pm, Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Some NASCAR drivers have a signature trademark they put into action when they win a race.
Most of the victory lane celebrations are the same: the driver stands on the window of the race car and cheers, hugs his pit crew and owner, then sprays the team with a beverage and parties on.
Yet it's what some of the drivers do before they get to victory lane that sets them apart from the others.
The late Alan Kulwicki wanted to do something for the fans when he won his first Sprint Cup race (then Winston Cup) back in 1988.
He drove around the track, in the opposite direction to which they raced, so he could see and wave to the fans.
Alan, who was killed in a plane crash in 1993, was Polish, so it quickly became known as "The Polish Victory Lap," and many of the drivers still do it today.
Carl Edwards does a back flip off the door of his race car and recently has been going into the grandstands to celebrate with the fans.
Kyle Busch stands with one foot on the window of the car and the other on the hood and takes a bow.
His brother, Kurt, has done a variety of things.
One time, he parked his car on the grass area in the front stretch, got out, laid down in the grass and pretended to make a snow angel, but without the snow.
Another time he celebrated by driving around the track in reverse.
Tony Stewart climbed the fence a few times with his pit crew after a victory, but he said he's gotten too big to do that anymore.
One of the most emotional wins ever came from Dale Earnhardt Jr.
In 2001, the same year his father was killed in the Daytona 500 in February, Dale won the July race there. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.
Dale parked his car on the grass in front of the grandstands and his teammate, Michael Waltrip, came up and parked next to him.
They jumped out of their cars and gave each other a big hug, then the pit crews joined in. The fans cheered like crazy.
Those are just a few pre-victory lane celebrations that stand out for me.
The Sprint Cup guys are in Indianapolis on Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN.