April 2023 marks 30 years since Alan Kulwicki’s death. The 1992 Cup Series champion (as both driver and team owner), “Special K” is one of the most beloved figures in NASCAR history, and his legacy has not been blotted out three decades on.

Kulwicki died in a plane crash while in transit to Bristol from Knoxville, Tenn., for the 1993 running of the Food City 500. He won the last Food City race to be held on concrete the year before. As such, The Last Colosseum has become something of a landmark for those wishing to honor Kulwicki.

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One such person was Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell. He captured Sunday’s Bristol dirt race, holding off Tyler Reddick for his first win of the Cup Series season. And Bell celebrated in style, driving clockwise while sticking his hand out the window to wave to the fans in the stands.

It was his interpretation of the “Polish Victory Lap,” a celebration Kulwicki perfected.

At 28, Bell wasn’t alive to see Kulwicki drive. But Kulwicki’s legacy still lives on in the world of stock car racing, immortalized in montages, T-shirts and more. Bell followed in the footsteps of many other drivers, including Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine, in honoring the fallen racer, who was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2002 and NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2019.

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