The year started with Derrike Cope winning the Daytona 500, and three months later, Arie Luyendyk came home first in the Indianapolis 500.
By the end of the auto racing season, however, the upstart and relatively unknown drivers had faded away, replaced in headlines by the drivers everyone expected to contend for championships at the start of the year.Stock car driver Dale Earnhardt exceeded $3 million in earnings and won his fourth Winston Cup title; Al Unser Jr. dominated the Indy car circuit to earn his first CART-PPG World Series driving championship; Brazilian Ayrton Senna muscled his way past Frenchman Alain Prost to win his second Formula One title; and Geoff Brabham won his third straight championship in the IMSA-Camel GTP series.
Martin held a 45-point NASCAR lead, but Earnhardt won at Phoenix while Martin finished 10th. That left Earnhardt in front, and the Chevy driver finished third at Atlanta to clinch the championship.
Unser Jr. put together a brilliant season on the Indy car circuit in his Lola-Chevrolet. He won six times, including the fastest 500-mile race in history, where his average speed was 189.727 mph at Michigan International Speedway.
For Roger Penske's so-called "Super Team," 1990 was a struggle. Danny Sullivan won twice, but he was the odd man out as Penske reduced his operation to a two-car team for 1991.