Subscribe to our Newsletter!

November 6, 1988 – The first Polish Victory Lap

The car Alan Kulwicki drove to victory at the 1988 Checker 500 and performed the first Polish Victory Lap.

NASCAR racer Alan Kulwicki, who is of Polish decent, introduced the world to the Polish victory lap on this day in 1988 after winning the Checker 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, his first NASCAR Winston Cup win. The victory lap, now a tradition in many forms of auto racing, usually involves the winning driver turning their car around and driving it the opposite way of the race around the track. They often will take the checkered flag and wave it to the fans. 

Alan Kulwicki

Kulwicki, nicknamed the “Polish Prince,” died in a light aircraft accident in 1993. Following his passing the the victory lap name was solidified. Kulwicki had won the Rookie of the Year title in 1986 and won the 1992 Winston Cup Championship, a title he never got to try and defend. 

A snow racing driver waving the checkers during a Polish victory lap

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you learned something today,

please buy me a beer!