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Inside the Chase: The Nextel Cup trophy
By BRANT JAMES
Published November 20, 2005
It doesn't have the history of the Stanley Cup or the charm of the Borg-Warner Trophy. It has never come to rest on the bottom of Mario Lemieux's pool or been cooked to 150 degrees on the back of Mario Andretti's Indy 500-winning Hawk III/Ford in 1969.
But the Nextel Cup trophy means everything to the drivers who chase the gleaming hunk of sterling silver and wood.
The trophy, first presented last year, earned its layer of history when champion Kurt Busch, exhausted from four hours of racing and trembling with excitement, nearly dunked the 27-pound trophy on his head moments after the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Like trophies in other sports, the original is kept by NASCAR, but a duplicate is presented to the winning driver and owner. Smaller, non-silver versions can be custom-ordered. It takes Tiffany & Co. about four months to fashion the full-size trophies at its workshop in Parsippany, N.J. The trophy is an etched, spun, silversmithed and polished rendering of a flowing checkered flag sitting atop a base with the name of every champion in NASCAR's top series since its inception in 1948.