NASCAR WINSTON CUP SERIES CHAMPION'S WEEK -- Day 1
Fire department, police precinct -- both No. 17s in their own right -- visited by Matt Kenseth.
NEW YORK (Dec. 1, 2003) -- NASCAR by the numbers on Monday:
It was 17s, all around.
Matt Kenseth, the newly-crowned NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion and driver of the Roush Racing No. 17 DeWALT Ford, visited some of New York City's bravest and finest, namely, members of the city's fire and police departments. Appropriately, Kenseth visited the Ladder 17 firehouse and the 17th police precinct.
In addition to the requisite handshakes, race hats and autographs -- not to mention Kenseth and his wife Katie taking turns sliding down the firehouse pole -- the visit resulted in DeWALT donating approximately $40,000 worth of equipment to the fire department.
"It was neat to see where they [the fire fighters] work and what they do," Kenseth said. "It's so different from what I do. But the neatest thing was to see Katie slide down the fire pole."
Kenseth, 31, also appeared on two high-profile morning television shows.
The two appearances were disparate to say the least.
On the "Today Show" he was part of a guest lineup that included NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, Las Vegas entertainer Siegfried Fischbacher and controversial '80s pop star Boy George. On "LIVE with Regis and Kelly" he instructed co-host Regis Philbin on the fine art of preparing beer-and-bratwurst, a culinary staple in Kenseth's home state of Wisconsin. (Kenseth had lead-off honors for the show's "Cooking with NASCAR Week." Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick will appear Tuesday-Friday.)
Said Kenseth: "I make a mean brat."
As for the Today Show appearance, the Kenseths were upstaged slightly by another "Matt and Katie" pairing. Of course, that would be the show's co-hosts, Matt Lauer and Katie Couric.
"That was cool," Kenseth said of the loud ovation for Lauer and Couric. "Normally when I'm at the race track, people are yelling and screaming for me to sign autographs, but on the plaza they were screaming for them."
* What's on tap tomorrow for the champion ... In what is becoming part-and-parcel to Champion's Week, a visit to the White House once again is planned for the NASCAR Winston Cup champion. On Tuesday, Kenseth and his championship team members will be part of a sizable NASCAR contingent heading to Washington for an outdoor reception hosted by President Bush. In addition to Kenseth's group, the rest of the 2003 final NASCAR Top 10 have been invited to attend by the President, as have several former NASCAR Winston Cup champions. Also, a number of NASCAR Winston Cup show cars will be positioned on the White House South Lawn.
* New York a backdrop for Evernham annoucement ... Speculation regarding Bill Elliott's future as a driver will be addressed Thursday morning at 9:30 in the Waldorf=Astoria's Metropolitan Suite. Evernham Motorsports has scheduled a press conference to announce its 2004 driver lineup for the No. 9 and No. 19 Dodges. Team owner Ray Evernham will be joined by Elliott and fellow driver Jeremy Mayfield.
What: NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony.
Who: Top 10 drivers in the final 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup championship standings, led by champion Matt Kenseth.
Where: Grand Ballroom, Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, New York City.
When: 7-10:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 5.
TV: TNT (tape-delay), 9 p.m.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.