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TIME RACES BY

Feb. 21, 2011
Feb. 21, 2011

Table of Contents
Feb. 21, 2011

LEADING OFF
GOLF PLUS
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
DEMAURICE SMITH
Departments

TIME RACES BY

The decade since Dale Sr.'s death in 2001 has been one of constant change for NASCAR

This is an article from the Feb. 21, 2011 issue

2002

NASCAR requires drivers to use head-and-neck restraints in its top three series.

2003

Bill France Jr., NASCAR's chairman since 1972, hands the reins to his son, Brian. Bill dies in '07 after a long battle with cancer.

2004

Brian France introduces the Chase for the Cup, a 10-race playoff that includes 10 (now 12) drivers based on regular-season performance.

2004

After 33-year run as sponsor of NASCAR's top series, R.J. Reynolds's Winston brand bows out. Nextel (then Sprint, in '08) steps in.

2005

NASCAR inks an eight-year, $4.5 billion deal with Fox, ABC/ESPN, TNT and Speed Channel, ensuring every Cup race gets airtime.

2007

The Car of Tomorrow (CoT) debuts at Bristol, the first of 16 races in which it will be used. The Cup series switches to the CoT full time in '08.

2009

Danica Patrick signs with JR Motorsports. She runs 13 Nationwide races in '10, with a best finish of 19th; earns $12 million in total revenue.

2005

Three years after installation begins, SAFER barriers—"soft walls" that absorb impact—are at every Sprint Cup oval track.

2009

Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus win an unprecedented fourth straight Sprint Cup title—then win a fifth in '10.

2010

After three years of experimenting with a rear-mounted wing on the CoT, NASCAR returns to the flat-blade spoiler, which debuted in 1966.

PHOTOJAMIE SQUIRE/ALLSPORT/GETTY IMAGESPHOTOBOB ROSATOPHOTOGEORGE TIEDEMANN/GT IMAGESPHOTOFRED VUICH