This speedway phenomena and crowd-sports fascination is an annual specialty racing mass-event, presented by NASCAR, Daytona Beach, Florida in the USA. Typically held in the state of North Carolina at the Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C., it has become a part of the fabric of not only the local area, but also a National passion and worldwide sporting event of distinction.
It offers one and all - with an insatiable need and appetite for the ultimate in speed and custom wheels racing - some utter satisfaction and the perfect adrenaline rush, on-demand and lap-by-lap!
It remains one of the largest global spectator sports and sports-betting favorite, gaining ground every year. It has however also known some ups and downs in its interwoven, proud and tragic history.
It came rooted in and from humble beginnings in the whiskey bootlegging down South, the ensuing stock-car racing of the early years, to the formal establishment of the national sanctioning body to govern stock racing on December 12, 1947 called 'NASCAR', the now well-recognized acronym and branding for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
Its halls of fame also carry shadows and sadness of numerous crashes, accidents and tragic incidents, famous driver deaths and losses that dot its development and sporting landscape. From struggling with and overcoming with triumph, numerous diverse challenges and obstacles like prohibition, the law, world war II, automotive and technological advancement and roller-coaster participation, retraction, interventions, the birth of the 'HEMI', to tobacco advertising bans, corporate sponsorships partnering, increasing popularity, broadcasting and media coverage, personal and professionals competing on and off-track, increasing hype, droves of timeless champions and recognized fallen heroes, NASCAR and racing has remained a crowd pleaser and favorite.
NASCAR, among other things, also acts as the sanctioning and overseeing body for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. In retrospect, here are some quick-facts about the events and more specifically the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series. With final races held on Saturday, May 21, 2005, with capacity crowds exceeding organizers' expectations and a new champion, everyone's eyes are on the pre-season thunder and hopefuls in 2006!
The Nextel Cup Series' second season, the 57th for NASCAR's premier division -- began in February 2005 at Daytona and ended 35 races later with the Ford 400 at Homestead.
It consisted of 36-races in total, making up the 2005 Nextel Cup Series, including the season-ending 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup "playoff." Tony Stewart tops the NASCAR world as the 2005 Nextel Cup Champion.
You might be asking what makes a driver eligible for the Nextel Open and who or what to watch for? Here are some of the general guidelines:
Little has changed in the rules for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (Open and All-Star Challenge). Eligibility rules for competitor-drivers potentially partaking in the NASCAR
- Nextel Cup Series include:
Drivers and car owners who have won races in the current and preceding year.
In the true spirit of competition, a driver who has left the team under whose banner a race might have been one, remains eligible and the car owner's new driver can also race (through the last race before The All-Star Race)
Past NASCAR cup champions (past 10 years )
The All-Star Race winners (past 10 years)
The winning driver of the Nextel Open
Drivers who have won in previous years, not eligible by the above (not owners)
If 20 drivers are not eligible, winners from previous seasons still active on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, become eligible for The All-Star Race.
All active drivers during that season become eligible, even if the field exceeds 20 competitors.
It is then easy to see that the entry requirements for NASCAR-banner type events, support standards of excellence and achievement. To qualify for the Nextel Open, drivers must be in the Top 50 of the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series [drivers] point standings or in the Top 50 of the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series [drivers] point standings as of March 14, 2006.
Just because a driver is listed, does not mean they will be participating in the race.
The 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, showcased race winners from the previous and current seasons, as well as past event champions and series champions from the past 10 years (1995-2005). All were active drivers and competed in at least one series event during the preceding (2004 or 2005) season. Also eligible was the winner of the NEXTEL Open, a preliminary event for teams not qualified for the all-star event, and one other NEXTEL Open driver, who secures an empowered fan-favorite vote, into full participatory rights and privileges in the all-star event. To qualify for the NEXTEL Open event, drivers must have been in the Top 50 of the final 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, or in the Top 50 of the current point standings at the time.
The ever-popular NASCAR's Nextel All-Star Challenge race, is likely to return to Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte in 2006, but NASCAR is contemplating its future, always with an eye on what tomorrow may bring to the sport in general and the event in particular.
Quoted sources list The Charlotte Observer as reporting that recently a vice president from Nextel, (official sponsors of the NASCAR's Cup series as well as the all-star race), said that the company was satisfied with the Charlotte area's efforts for the race and indicated the event would likely come back in 2006.
NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said nothing has been decided about the long term. "Every year, we revisit the idea of moving the all-star race," he said. The story also lists that the all-star event creates approximately $94 million dollars' worth of impact on the region's economy in travel and tourism dollars spent.(Source: NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter, 4-7-2005), so it is easily seen that this event is sporting a growing trend, not only in viewer-ship, but also in vested dollars and profits.
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Jack Scrafford recommends PlatinumTickets to buy NASCAR tickets. See www.platinumtickets.
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By: Jack Scrafford