Junior Johnson's Offer

Kulwicki's Army car for the 1991 Daytona 500

Prior to the 1990 Winston Cup season, Junior Johnson offered Kulwicki a chance to race for his team.  Johnson, a legendary figure in the NASCAR world, had won 50 races in his career.  He became a team owner after he retired from driving and built his organization into one of NASCAR’s best.  Johnson had won six championships as an owner, three each with Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip.  Now, Johnson wanted Kulwicki to be his driver, but Kulwicki turned him down, choosing to stay the course with AK Racing.

Kulwicki got off to a rocky start in 1990 but improved over the course of the year.  He also moved the team to a new shop down the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway.  He would earn 13 top 10 finishes in the 29-race season, including six in a row at the end of the year.  One of those top 10s was Kulwicki’s second career victory, which came at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham.  However, Zerex decided to end its sponsorship of AK Racing once the season was over.

Johnson approached Kulwicki again during the offseason and offered him a place on his team for 1991.  Once again, Kulwicki declined the offer.  He explained years later that “When I first came into Winston Cup Racing, I just wanted to race.  I just wanted to drive for somebody else.  I did it this way (owning his own team) out of necessity.  Eventually, I got offers to drive for other people, but by the time I got the offers, I had so much invested in this team, I didn’t want to give up on it.”

So Kulwicki went into 1991 as an owner/driver once again, but this time without a sponsor.  He did get to run a special US Army-themed car in the Daytona 500, but the No. 7 Ford was blank for the next two races.

Birds of NASCAR poster 1990 (front)

Kulwicki's No. 7 car is pictured on this poster with other Ford Thrunderbirds competing in NASCAR, including the No. 11 owned by Junior Johnson.

Birds of NASCAR poster 1990 (back)

Reverse side of the poster

Kulwicki runs just behind Geoff Bodine in the 1990 Daytona 500.  Bodine drove Junior Johnson's No. 11 car in 1990 and 1991.

Kulwicki (7) racing the Army car with Ken Schrader (25), Bill Elliott (9), and Kyle Petty (42) during the 1991 Daytona 500.

This trading card regcognizes Kulwicki's second Winston Cup win and the team who helped him earn it.

Alan Kulwicki reaffirms commitment to his team

Word got out in 1990 that Kulwicki had turned down Johnson's invitation to join his team.  Kulwicki explains his intent to reamin an owner/driver.  

Alan Kulwicki discusses moving to a new race shop

Kulwicki talks about moving AK Racing to a new race shop earlier in the season.

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