News & Media

NASCAR hopes to keep ceremony in Las Vegas

December 03, 2011, David Caraviello,

LAS VEGAS -- As invitees filed out of the Sprint Cup awards ceremony on Friday, it marked not only the end of the event, but also the end of the three-year deal that brought NASCAR's Champion's Week to Las Vegas.

The week-long championship celebration moved to the desert in 2009 after a long stint in New York, where the event often struggled for recognition. In Las Vegas, NASCAR has found that and more -- strong crowds attended events such as the Victory Lap show car parade down the Strip, which even attracted news helicopters hovering overhead.

As this Champion's Week concluded, indications were that the event would return to Las Vegas, although no formal announcement of such has yet been made. An agreement between NASCAR and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority brought the event to the city.

"We certainly have a desire to come back. There's a desire I think from them to have us back," Steve Phelps, NASCAR's chief marketing officer, said Friday. "I think we're just trying to figure out, what are the right assets that work for them? What is the best way to engage with the fan base and bring as many people to the city as possible? But we're excited about the possibilities of getting something renewed. We don't have anything right now. There are discussions that are going on."

NASCAR often struggled to make a footprint in New York, despite the city's status as the media capital of the world. In Las Vegas, that was never a problem. Part of the Strip was shut down Thursday for the Victory Lap parade, and Stewart even received the key to the city.

"You spent 25, 26 years in New York -- great town, great media town. When we come to Vegas, we know that we're here. The residents of Vegas know we're here, our fans know we're here," Phelps said. "You look at the Victory Lap [Thursday], you look at the event at Fremont Street, you look at the After the Lap event, the support that we've received from the fans have been incredible. Sponsors have been excited about being here, drivers are excited about being here. So listen, Vegas is a great place to celebrate our championship."