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Fitting Tribute to Alan Kulwicki on April 1, 2003
Dennis Michelsen
March 26, 2003
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Alan Kulwicki is one of those "Made for TV" stories when it comes to NASCAR Winston Cup. He came to the scene with very little except determination and an incredible ability to drive a racecar. Alan did it his way and soon became a formidable force on the Cup circuit as one of the few successful owner/drivers the sport has seen in the modern era.

AK reached the pinnacle of the sport by winning the Winston Cup Championship in 1992. That year's final race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was perhaps one of the greatest races ever held in NASCAR history. The "King" Richard Petty was in his final race, Jeff Gordon was making his Cup debut, and three drivers were in a close points race on the final day of the season. Davey Allison, Bill Elliot, and Alan Kulwicki all entered the day with a chance to capture the title. Davey was involved in a crash on the front stretch that ended his title hopes but Kulwicki and Elliot dueled all day long. In the end Bill won the race but Alan in his famous Ford Underbird won the points title by leading the most laps and won the closest points races in history.

Unfortunately like all "Made for TV" movies tragedy struck in Alan's life ten years ago when he was killed in a plane crash on his way to Bristol from a personal appearance in Knoxville. On the day of the race his team hauler made a solo lap around the high banks of Bristol as a tribute to our fallen hero. Since then the "Polish Victory Lap," that Alan Kulwicki made famous, has been used by others to honor their fallen friend. A lot has changed in these ten years but Alan Kulwicki's legacy lives on in the determination shown by so many of our Winston Cup heroes today. AK is also an inspiration to me too; whenever I feel I can’t get something done I look at the incredible odds he overcame!

When I started trying to find the right way to honor Alan Kulwicki I found a lot of fellow AK fans also searching for a way to do it right. Dennis Mielcarek has been lighting a candle in AK’s honor every year at his gravesite. This year Dennis will have company! Please join us at the Hooter’s Restaurant in Greenfield Wisconsin (7700 West Layton Ave) from 6-8 PM on April 1, 2003 as we get together, share some memories with fellow AK fans, and then head over to the cemetery to pay our respects with a candle light vigil. Many thanks to Sarah Krajnak, Manager Erik Alm, and the staff at the Greenfield Hooters for setting up this get together. Let’s make this a fitting tribute to the man that showed us that you should never give up on your dreams! Nowadays we need that reminder more than ever and it CAN live on in AK’s memory.

Candle Light Vigil for Alan Kulwicki

When: 6pm on April 1, 2003

Where: Meeting at the Greenfield Hooters, 7700 West Layton Ave in Greenfield, Wisconsin

Festivities: Fans will have tribute videotapes to share along with stories and memories about Alan Kulwicki. A caravan will follow at 8PM to the gravesite at St. Adelbert’s Cemetery for a candle light vigil.

Friends and former competitors may also send their comments to be read at the celebration of Alan’s life and his accomplishments.

Contributions will be accepted by the Greenfield Lion’s Club for improvements to the park named in Alan Kulwicki’s honor.

For more information contact Dennis Michelsen of http://www.frontstretch.com/ at dennis@frontstretch.com.

Copyright, 2003, Frontstretch Enterprises, LLC

Dennis has followed NASCAR since the days when you were lucky to get a snippet of a race on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. His all time favorite drivers in the old days were Buddy Baker, Donnie Allison, and the “Silver Fox” David Pearson. A certifiable racing junky, he can be found on many summer evenings at Rockford Speedway.

Dennis is a fan of the sport more than any particular driver. But a race season is not complete unless Mark Martin, the Labontes, Dale Earnhardt JR, Kevin Harvick, and Tony Stewart find their way to Victory Lane!

You can find his coverage every week on Tuesdays (Odds and Ends) and Thursdays (Fantasy Insight) with occasional feature stories tossed in from time to time. you can E-mail Dennis at dennis@frontstretch.com

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