to have the field covered, when tragedy struck. With Elliott's race-leading
Ford Thunderbird in the pits for its final scheduled stop, Ricky Rudd spun as
he attempted to pull into the pit directly behind Elliott. Rudd's car slammed
backward into Elliott's, injuring three crewmen in the process. Two of them
were not seriously hurt, but Mike Rich, who had been changing Elliott's right
rear tire, would die Sunday night of massive internal injuries after being
taken by helicopter to Georgia Baptist Medical Center.
After that, the
race just wound down. Shepherd took first over Bodine, both in Fords, while
Earnhardt's final set of tires didn't work well enough for him to do much but
cruise to a third-place finish—which was good enough to clinch the Winston Cup
over Martin, who finished sixth. The count was 4,430 points to 4,404. Despite
the one-two finish by Ford, Chevrolet took the Manufacturers Title for the
eighth straight year. The two factories finished with 194 points each, but
Chevrolet had won 13 races to Ford's 11.
million-dollar bonus for the Cup championship, plus other bonuses of about
$300,000, Earnhardt's take for the season bettered $3 million, and his lifetime
total went over the $12-million mark. But because of the pit-road tragedy, the
celebration was, understandably, subdued.