I’ve been a NASCAR fan for a couple of years now and I’ve gotta hand it to Sin City for providing fans with a great experience during 2009 Champion’s Week. I’ve been to lots of races, pre-race festivities and VIP banquets, so I’m no stranger to these types of events. I was in Vegas for the latter part of Champion’s Week and got to participate on an amazingly up-close-and-personal level.
The pre-lap festivities started at the MGM Grand and went all the way down the Vegas Strip. It was cold outside, but the roar of the engines when the 12 drivers revved up added some warmth to the day. You could tell the drivers were enjoying making lots of noise spinning tires on the Strip. Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo certainly made the most of this unique Victory Lap. It was awesome to see them driving the cars without their helmets because you could see their smiling faces for a change! We didn’t get to see Jimmie’s first DNF of the season, but we heard all about it.
After the engines roared down the Vegas Strip, the 12 Chase drivers came back to the MGM for a fun reception called “After the Lap.” Hosted by the beautiful and witty Jamie Little and presented by Tissot, this event was such a treat! All 12 drivers showed up in suits and dress shoes – well, Mark Martin had on Sketchers – and they were totally laid-back in this casual setting. Each driver was presented with a Tissot watch and they unveiled the Sprint Cup trophy. Jamie asked each driver a question from fans all over the U.S. The answers were quite amusing.
I enjoyed the bantering between all of the drivers, especially Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo as well as Denny and Jeff Gordon. Jimmie making fun of his own eyebrows was hilarious. (I still think it was mean of Tony to deny Juan Pablo his hug, but that’s just MommyQ’s opinion.) From a fan’s perspective, it was easy to be part of the celebration and you got to see a glimpse of the drivers that we normally don’t see in person. Overall, I think Vegas did it up right and I look forward to doing it all again next year.
Images courtesy of myself!