ESPN the Magazine celebrates need for speed

As the NASCAR season gets under way, ESPN the Magazine's latest issue will appeal to racing fans with the need for speed.

The Speed issue hits newsstands Feb. 21, 2011, and the cover story is sure to strike a chord with NASCAR fans. With the 10-year anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s death upon us, ESPN reporter Ryan McGee talks with Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick about embracing his role in the Dale Sr. legacy. It's a fascinating look at a journey that has taken Harvick a decade to come to terms with.

Here's an excerpt:

... It wasn't until last autumn that he at last accepted the role everyone clamored for him to play. The Man Who Replaced Earnhardt led the Sprint Cup points standings throughout most of the 26-race regular season and entered the Chase finale at Homestead-Miami with a genuine shot at unseating Jimmie Johnson and winning RCR's first post-Earnhardt Cup. "Whatever had been missing between me and the Earnhardt fans finally seemed to click," he says. "As the Chase rolled along and it was obvious we had a shot at winning the championship, the phones at RCR and KHI started to ring off the hook."

On the other end of the line were dozens of self-described old-school NASCAR fans, folks who had grown up rooting for Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Earnhardt. This is the coveted group whom NASCAR brass refers to as "core race fans," the ones who had abandoned the sport during the Car of Tomorrow/Chase for the Cup/post-Intimidator days. "They called to say they hadn't watched NASCAR in years but were going to watch the Homestead race," says Harvick. "They said they wanted to see me and RCR and Dale's car win the championship. I'm not what you'd call an overly emotional person, but that really moved me. Talk about motivation."

The magazine also features a garage preview, NASCAR's quick learners, a look at how to crash and a pit crew combine.
ESPN the Magazine celebrates need for speed ESPN the Magazine celebrates need for speed Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Friday, February 18, 2011 Rating: 5