TBT: Nemechek Beats "The Intimidator"
Remembering the Win Over Dale Sr.
This year, New Hampshire Motor Speedway celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Throughout the year as part of that celebration, the Granite Stripe will throw it back on Thursday and give a small history lesson on past events at the track.
The Cup Series first raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 1993, but that wasn't the first time NASCAR visited the track. The first NASCAR race ever held at NHMS was July 15, 1990, and run by the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series).
Similar to today's format with the likes of Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and others, it wasn't uncommon for Cup drivers to race in the other national series if the schedule allowed. Which explains why on August 23, 1992, Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) was in the field for the New England Chevy Dealers 250 at NHMS.
It was Earnhardt's third appearance at NHMS in the series, and the closest he would come to winning a race at the Magic Mile in his illustrious career.
Pole sitter Ernie Irvan dominated the race early, leading the first 105 laps and taking it back for another 21 before his engine blew up on Lap 133. With that car packed up for the day, the door opened for the rest of the field, including Earnhardt, Jeff Burton, and Joe Nemechek.
Earnhardt took the lead for 31 laps on Lap 157 before Burton wrestled it away for the next 20. Then it was Nemechek's turn to take the point, which he did on Lap 208.
The up-and-comer was still a year away from making his Cup Series debut, but fresh off his first career win in the series at Indianapolis Raceway Park a few weeks previous, Nemechek refused to be afraid of "The Intimidator," who was running second.
Earnhardt did his best to pass Nemechek on the inside for the lead, but his pursuit proved to be futile. The 28-year-old held off the (at the time) five-time Cup champion to take the checkered flag and pick up his second win of the season in the series.
Victory lane would elude Earnhardt for the duration of his career at NHMS, while Nemechek would return for his first career win in the Cup Series several years later ... but, that's a story for a different Throwback Thursday.