NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week -- Day 4
Johnson Notes Las Vegas Champion's Week's Growth Potential
Inman Recipient Of 2009 Buddy Shuman Award
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2009) -- As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week rolls toward the official crowning of four-time champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) on Friday night, the celebration continues to focus on the sport's many fans.
Bringing the event to Las Vegas has been a big plus in that respect, according to Johnson, who sees nothing but greater fan participation in future years.
"The fan turnouts for all of the events have been phenomenal, especially for a first year," said Johnson during Thursday's events which included the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, Top 12 Victory Lap Parade, NASCAR After the Lap Presented by Tissot and SIRIUS XM's 'Stewie Awards.' "With the TV package, (fan) access to NASCAR is growing and Champion's Week in the years to come can only get bigger and better."
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, in remarks during Thursday's awards ceremonies, said, "We will continue to do everything possible as an industry to thank them for the commitment to the sport and to give them the kind of racing, personalities and excitement they expect from their NASCAR.
"As we head into 2010, we will continue to focus on what's most important -- delivering the best possible racing to the fans."
Two of NASCAR's pioneers were honored during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, held at the Venetian Showroom. Dale Inman, the longtime Petty Enterprises crew chief and winner of eight NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, was the recipient of the Buddy Shuman Award. Inman, winner of 198 races and titles with Richard Petty and Terry Labonte, joined Petty as a winner of the prestigious award.
Barney Hall, the longest serving member of MRN's broadcast team, received the Myers Brothers Award.
Michigan International Speedway received the 2009 Home Depot Humanitarian Award for its annual blood and marrow drive, an event created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Similar events are hosted at 30 additional tracks around the nation.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think what we began in 2002 would become this big," said Tim Booth, the track's customer service manager.
Daytona International Speedway was cited as the top fund-raising track for NASCAR Day. The speedway raised nearly $100,000 for charities served by the NASCAR Foundation.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver for the seventh time.
Johnson picked up four awards. His No. 48 team received three additional awards.
The Top 12 Victory Lap Parade held Thursday afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s drew thousands of onlookers as "Mr. Las Vegas" Wayne Newton dropped the ceremonial green flag. Fans overflowed sidewalks at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road to witness what has become a NASCAR race winner's signature "burn out" celebration performed by Johnson.
Pit stop demonstrations also were held fronting Bally's and The Bellagio resorts.
A large crowd also enjoyed a Q&A session with the 12 qualifiers for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup held at the MGM Grand Hotel. The After the Lap Presented by Tissot followed the Top 12 Victory Lap.
Thursday events ended with the presentation of the SIRIUS XM "Stewie Awards" honoring the best, boldest and brightest moments of the 2009 season.
Johnson formally accepts his 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship awards on Friday. He, his family and his Hendrick Motorsports team will participate in traditional photos during the afternoon, before attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that evening at Wynn's Las Vegas. SPEED will televise the event live from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. ET. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will also broadcast the ceremony live nationwide.
Here is the complete list of Thursday's award winners:
Buddy Shuman Award -- Dale Inman
NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award -- Michigan International Speedway
NMPA Myers Brothers Award -- Barney Hall
Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award -- Joey Logano
DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award -- Darian Grubb
Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award -- Jimmie Johnson
Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award -- Drew Blickensderfer
MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award -- Hendrick Motorsports
Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Award -- No. 42 team
Mobil 1 Command Performance Award -- Juan Pablo Montoya
O'Reilly Parts People, Services and Performance Award -- Denny Hamlin
Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award -- Jimmie Johnson
Tissot Pit Road Precision Award -- No. 16 team
WIX Filters Lap Leader Award -- Tony Stewart
Coors Light Pole Award -- Mark Martin
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award -- Jimmie Johnson
Goodyear Award -- Jimmie Johnson
Championship Sponsor Award -- Lowe's
Champion Crew Chief Award -- Chad Knaus
2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Champion: Jimmie Johnson
2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Champion: Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports
Final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12: 1. Jimmie Johnson, 6,652; 2. Mark Martin, 6,511; 3. Jeff Gordon, 6,473; 4. Kurt Busch, 6,446; 5. Denny Hamlin, 6,335; 6. Tony Stewart, 6,309; 7. Greg Biffle, 6,292; 8. Juan Pablo Montoya, 6,252; 9. Ryan Newman, 6,175; 10. Kasey Kahne, 6,128; 11. Carl Edwards, 6,118; 12. Brian Vickers, 5,929.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Joey Logano