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NASCAR Sprint Cup: From Dale Earnhardt to Jimmie Johnson, What a Decade

Next week, a handful of Sprint Cup drivers will take to the track at Daytona International Speedway. It will be the first test on the newly paved surface in preparation for next year’s Daytona 500, and the test marks the beginning of the 2011 season. The test will symbolize the beginning of a new decade in NASCAR, and the end of one that has brought devastating losses, incredible performances and huge changes. Ten years ago, Bobby Labonte was basking in the glow of his 2000 championship run, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. had confirmed his continued competitiveness in the series with a second-place points finish. His next points race would be his last. Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 still stands for...

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