This weekend, the 101st edition of the season-opening NASCAR race takes place at the newly-renovated Chicagoland Speedway in Illinois. It’s been over 25 years since the last race was held at the old location, and it’s been over 10 years since the last championship was won there. This year’s edition of the NASCAR race promises to be special as several first-time events and a number of historic trophies will be up for grabs. This year’s lineup of drivers includes several top tier racing teams and the always-competitive fan-favorite Jimmie Johnson, who is coming off of his championship season.
Over the years, CHS has become a bit of a mecca for NASCAR fans, with attendance regularly breaking record levels. In fact, at a cost of less than $5 million, NASCAR has invested heavily in the renovations at CHS and many other tracks around the country in an effort to retain their top fans and attract newbies to the sport. As a result, tracks around the country have implemented similar changes and have become more family-friendly, with new paint schemes, decorations, and trackside attractions. There are also lots of activities going on outside of the racetrack, including family-friendly concerts, fireworks, and parades. This year’s racing season also marks the 100th anniversary of NASCAR.
Thoughts on the upcoming NASCAR race?
The Grandson Of A Builder Is Following In His Family Footsteps
Austin Dillon is the great grand-son of Bobby and Jackie Stewart, and the 2012 edition of the NASCAR race will be the 20-year-old’s debut on the national stage. Like his famous namesakes, Dillon grew up around racing cars and followed in their footsteps, racing go karts before moving up to regional series. After competing in several local series, he was selected to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2010 and went on to finish 11th in the final standings. While Dillon may be following in his family’s footsteps, he’s also making his mark on the racing world on his own terms. Last year, he won his first race at Bristol Motor Speedway. This year, he’ll be looking to build on that success at the 1.5-mile track in Tennessee.
Thoughts on the upcoming NASCAR race?
What Will Happen To All Of Those Old Trophies?
Like other sports, NASCAR collects trophies year-after-year for the best performances by its members. The most prestigious award in NASCAR is the Daytona 500 crown, which is awarded for winning the very first race of the season. Though the Daytona 500 crown has been around since the 1950s and is named after that first race, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it started being called the “Daytona 500” and not the “Racetrack 500.” Since then, other races have been retrospectively named after the famous Daytona, making it the de facto most prestigious title in the NASCAR world. (The Grandfather Of A Builder, Not The Builder Himself, Received The Award For The First Annual Daytona 500)
The most prestigious race overall is the season finale, the Chevrolet Classic, which is named after the prestigious Chevrolet trophy that is given out at the end of every season. Not content with just one title, the Daytona 500 champion will also receive the Chevy Classic trophy, spurring him on to greater victories.
In the modern era of NASCAR (post-1972), only seven drivers have won the Daytona 500 title, with only Richard Petty, Jack Roush, and Dale Earnhardt winning the chevrolet classic. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Daytona 500 and there are a host of legendary names on the roster, including Hendrick Motorsports with Chase Elliott, who is the first NASCAR rookie to win the pole position for the season-opening race.
What will happen to all of those old trophies? Will they be put on display for fans to see? Will they be stored away and only shown to certain members of the press and top brass?
The story of NASCAR is one of endurance and perseverance, and over the years, the top award for the best overall performance in NASCAR has been known as the ‘George Washington Carver Memorial Trophy,’ in honor of the pioneering scientist and educator, George Washington Carver.