Help from Hooters

Kulwicki found a new sponsor while preparing for the fourth race of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Restaurant chain Hooters had planned to sponsor a different driver in the same event, but he and his team failed to qualify.  Kulwicki, on the other hand, won the pole for the race, and Hooters executives made a quick decision to switch their sponsorship to the No. 7.  Kulwicki took the new Hooters car to an eighth-place finish, which convinced Hooters to continue with AK Racing on a race-by-race basis.

Kulwicki was initially skeptical that Hooters could afford a years-long sponsorship, but AK Racing’s strong performances kept the company interested.  In August 1991, Kulwicki scored his third Winston Cup victory and his first with Hooters.  Kulwicki prevailed in a 500-lap race at the high-banked, half-mile oval in Bristol, Tennessee.  A few weeks later, Kulwicki reached a three-year sponsorship agreement with Hooters.  AK Racing would end the season with one win, four top fives, 11 top 10s, and four poles in 29 races.  While the 1991 season was not quite as strong for Kulwicki as the previous year had been, the Hooters sponsorship helped AK Racing tremendously.  Hooters became the sponsor most associated with Kulwicki and his racing career.  

A sponsorship extension with Hooters gave Kulwicki a reason to celebrate, but here it looks like he only wants to eat that cake!

Kulwicki with new colors, courtesy of his Hooters sponsorship.

Matchbox made collectable 1:66 scale versions of several drivers' cars in the early 1990s, including Kulwicki's No. 7 Hooters Ford.

This is a larger (1:43 scale) replica of Kulwicki's Hooters car produced by Racing Champions.

Matchbox also made collectible replicas of the AK Racing team hauler, complete with Hooters colors.

Alan Kulwicki discusses his Hooters sponsorship

Early in the 1992 season, Kulwicki explained how the Hooters sponsorship brought security and extra funding to his team.

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