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The Nascar Nextel Cup Series

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Nextel Cup

The Nascar Nextel Cup Series

Jim Johnson
August 16, 2006

One of the biggest events on America's sporting calendar and the most important of NASACAR's racing series is the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Nextel took over sponsorship of the NASACAR Cup Series back in 2004. The series was previously called the Grand National and later, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. After taking over sponsorship, the Cup Series was changed to give new NASACAR drivers a better chance and also to make it more competitive. The NASCAR Nextel Cup "Race to the Chase" was established which added more excitement, much like a "playoff" system. After 26 races the top ten drivers in points are eligible to compete for the Cup in the last 10 races of the season. As with other NASCAR series, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series rewards drivers can for wins and for laps led. Five bonus points are awarded to drivers who lead a whole lap during a race.

A separate Chase for the Championship is operated by the Nextel Cup Owner's Championship and the Nextel Cup Driver's Championship. Over the course of a cup series it is quite common for driver's points to differ from owner's points. It is rare for drivers and owners to be the same people in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. This fact is due to the structure of the modern NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races tending to favour racing teams that own multiple cars.

The NASCAR Cup Series began in 1950, when it was won by Bill Rexford, still the youngest person ever to have won it. The most successful driver ever in the NASCAR Cup Series was Richard Petty, who won twenty seven races back in 1967. He was the son of previous NASCAR Cup Series champion Lee Petty. The NASCAR Cup Series has been vital in promoting the sport of racing, which started out on dirt tracks with little reward. Richard Petty was the first driver to earn over $100,000 in a NASCAR Cup Series.

Besides the skill of the drivers, it takes several others to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. These include the dedicated crews who support cars during the race for the cup and also on the designers, who work year round on find ways to improve the cars for participation in the series. Computer simulations are used by NASCAR crew chiefs to assist them in judging how well cars are likely to run in the series. Most are in agreement that a strong, durable engine is the most important thing when it comes to winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup.

Nextel's sponsorship of the NASCAR Cup Series has helped to revive corporate interest in the telecommunications company. Nextel was recently purchased by the Sprint corporation to become Sprint Nextel. It is expected that this will result in next year's premiere racing competition being renamed from the NASCAR Cup Series to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. NASCAR continues to reinvent itself to appeal to the masses, to provide increased value to it's sponsors and to provide more safety to the drivers.



http://www.nascar.com/ For NASCAR merchandise, news and NASCAR Tickets visit http://www.nascar-links.com/

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