Stage set for Champion's Week finale in Las Vegas
December 06, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards have proven the adage that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas ... for at least five years.
Whatever stock-car racing spin one places on the old saying, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week kicked off Tuesday for its fifth installment in the desert, marking a major milestone of celebration in Las Vegas. Four days of glitz and fan-friendly activity with the 13 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason drivers were scheduled, culminating Friday with the feting of six-time champion Jimmie Johnson at the Wynn Las Vegas.
"Las Vegas has been home to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards for five years, and each year it grows bigger, better and more entertaining for our fans," Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer, said in May when the dates for the annual banquet were announced. "Undoubtedly, this milestone Champion's Week will continue -- and heighten -- that tradition.”
Coverage of the awards takes place Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight ET on FOX Sports 2 and NASCAR.com. Radio coverage on MRN affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Plenty of build-up and insider-style access -- with many events free to the public -- was scheduled before the black-tie and evening gown gala:
Tuesday -- "NASCAR Live" with Eli Gold hosted Johnson in an hourlong, audience-participation radio show from 7-8 p.m. ET (4-5 p.m. PT) at the Wynn Sports Book. The Motorsports Marketing Forum presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal kicked off for the first of two days, providing a comprehensive look at the business of the NASCAR industry.
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Jeff Burton bound for NBC broadcast booth
Wednesday -- The red carpet was out for all 13 Chase drivers in the Fanfest presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a free event also in its fifth year. Beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. PT) at the Fremont Street Experience, the drivers engaged in a game-show style face-off with a prize of two tickets to the Friday night awards banquet available for fans. The day also included a reception for this year's four finalists for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award at the Wynn from 7:30-8:30 p.m. ET (4:30-5:30 p.m. PT). Fan voting is closed, but look for the winner to be announced later this week.
Rick Allen named lead announcer for NBC
Also Wednesday, NASCAR.com hosted Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers Greg Biffle, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman for a live chat. Watch that video below.
Thursday -- One of the busiest days of the week in Vegas began with the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon (2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET, video live streamed at NASCAR.com) in the Encore Ballroom at the Wynn. The awards ceremonies were followed by NASCAR Victory Lap at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT), when the top 10 Chase drivers offered a taste of the race-day experience with burnouts and a rumbling drive down Las Vegas Boulevard. NASCAR After the Lap presented by Ford and Coca-Cola concluded the day at the Palms Hotel & Casino Hotel with an offbeat, unfiltered roundtable involving every Chase driver. Fans can read and watch the highlights:
2 p.m. ET: NMPA/Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon (Read recap)
6 p.m. ET: NASCAR Victory Lap (Watch highlights)
8 p.m. ET: NASCAR After the Lap (Watch highlights)
More from Thursday:
Brian France address
Hall of Fame changes
Stewart wins Myers Brothers Award
Junior 'most popular' for 11th year in row
Holly Cain rides with Jimmie on burnout
Friday -- Johnson and the rest of the top 10 drivers in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings will be honored, marking the official close of the 2013 season. Drivers, celebrities and other special guests will all walk the red carpet before the celebration begins.
9 p.m. ET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony (Watch live)