1988: Alan Kulwicki notches his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series, winning the Checker 500 — the first race for the tour at Phoenix International Raceway. Kulwicki, who won the 1992 series title, took command when Ricky Rudd retired with engine failure after leading a race-high 183 laps. The Wisconsin native took the checkered flag 18.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Terry Labonte and celebrated with what would become his trademark — the backward “Polish Victory Lap.” Davey Allison, Bill Elliott and Rusty Wallace completed the top five.
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