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NASCAR: The Evolution of the Sport (2001-2005)

In 2001, the Dodge division of Chrysler Corp. announced it would return to NASCAR Cup Series racing for the first time since the late 1970s. They assembled a formidable team. Ray Evernham, who left the Hendrick Motor Sports Chevrolet operation in 1999, was hired by MoPar to direct Dodge's effort. Evernham was in charge of Dodge's two-car flagship team with drivers Casey Atwood and Bill Elliott. Other Dodge teams included Bill Davis Racing, Felix Sabates, Melling Racing, and Petty Enterprises, which returned to the Chrysler fold for the first time since 1978. But the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season was also marked with sadness, as a terrible crash in the final laps of the Daytona 500 took the life of skilled driver and fan favorite Dale Earnh...

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