Checkered Flags of Our Fathers

A brief history of NASCAR: The automobile was born. Two Southern dandies looked askance at one another. In lieu of dueling pistols, they jumped in their jalopies and set off on a gripping, 14-mph game of chicken. Somebody slapped a gigantic endorsement on the winner's flivver.

This, of course, is a little unfair. While American racing remains a peculiarly Southern institution, it long ago outgrew its provincial beginnings and stormed into the mainstream consciousness. Its only real rival nowadays, many argue, is the NFL. Though NASCAR Weekend is typically the Valley's Super Bowl, it'll have to share the spotlight with the real deal out in Glendale this time around. But let's not fuss 'n' fight, y'all. There's plenty of grease and glamour to go around between today's preliminary activities and the conclusion of the weekend's signature event, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Checker Auto Parts 500, on Sunday, November 11.

Thu., Nov. 8; Fri., Nov. 9; Sat., Nov. 10; Sun., Nov. 11, 2007