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Champions Week '07: JJ, the Big Apple, Tiffany's ... and, oh, NASCAR

David Spade? Tom Brokaw? Kelly Clarkson? Ryan McGee chronicles the best and the worst moments of Champions Week and the 2007 Nextel Cup Banquet.

Originally Published: November 14, 2007
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine

NEW YORK -- In 1981, NASCAR moved its year-end awards banquet from the southland to New York in an effort to become more big time. The champion driver, a still-young Darrell Waltrip, picked up a check for $150,000. His car owner was former moonshine runner Junior Johnson and his crew chief was Tim Brewer.

One problem. The Big Apple couldn't have given less of a big whoop about the event.

A nation away in El Cajon, Calif., Jimmie Johnson was in kindergarten ...

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