Next month, NASCAR crowns its Cup champion, a driver who will have endured a 26-race regular season and survived three elimination rounds that featured a Roval, restrictor-plate race and a short track battle.
That’s just to get to the championship finale Nov. 18 in Miami on NBC.
Then it is a matchup against three others for the same prize, one they’ve worked a lifetime to achieve.
Four men who know the thrill of conquering the competition and raising the championship trophy, share what it takes to win the title.
Dale Jarrett, 1999 champion, says: “Everybody talks about wanting to be a champion and be the champion but what does that take?
Rusty Wallace, 1989 champion, says: “We had to basically give up everything else in life and the car was everything and that’s all that we focused on.”
Seven-time champion Richard Petty says: “Everything just comes together for some people that don’t come together for others.”
Says Jarrett: “The sacrifices that you have to make are the most difficult, but in the end it’s the most rewarding.”
Bobby Labonte, 2000 champion, says: “You have this passion. You have this desire. When you see that, you’re like I want to be that.”
Watch the video above for more of what they say it takes to be a NASCAR champion.