Champion's Week, day one report

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion's Week Presented by Sprint -- Day 1 * Stewart tours landmarks in first full day in New York City * On Deck: Visits to Staten Island, FDNY to highlight Tuesday's activities NEW YORK (Nov. 28, 2005) -- A ...

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion's Week Presented by Sprint -- Day 1

* Stewart tours landmarks in first full day in New York City

* On Deck: Visits to Staten Island, FDNY to highlight Tuesday's activities

NEW YORK (Nov. 28, 2005) -- A post-season trip to New York City has turned into a tradition for Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet).

The 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion returned to the city for the seventh consecutive season as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10. Stewart, and the rest of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors will be honored Friday night at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.

Stewart has finished in the top 10 in every season he has competed in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. This is the second time he will be honored as series champion; he also took the title in 2002.

"I think when I got to New York, it finally hit me, the full spectrum of what we accomplished," Stewart said of his championship season. "Being here for championship week, this is when it is going to hit us the most."

Stewart was welcomed Sunday night with a private dinner with NASCAR and Sprint Nextel executives. A special meal was cooked by Waldorf=Astoria head chef John Doherty, who has overseen the hotel's kitchen since NASCAR first held the awards ceremony in New York in 1981.

"It was a very neat setting being able to watch the chefs do what they do best. It made for a fun atmosphere and was a great way to start the week off," Stewart said.

On Monday, Stewart's first full day in the city, the champion was treated to a tour of New York area landmarks which ended with a carriage ride through Central Park.

The tour began with a trip to the "TOP OF THE ROCK" -- the observation deck atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The deck originally opened in 1933, but had been closed for the last 20 years. It re-opened on Nov. 1.

"Its fun to be able to go places that you've never been to," Stewart said afterwards. "To be up that high and see a perspective of the city that people haven't seen from that building for over 20 years is pretty cool."

Although his first day was relatively light, Stewart has a full week's worth of activities planned for him, and he's ready to celebrate his second championship.

"We'll have a lot of fun. Obviously, being able to spend time with our team later in the week and to be able to go to some of the parties that the team gets to go to, that's probably going to be the most gratifying part of the week -- being able to celebrate as one team again."

What's on tap Tuesday for the champion ... Tony Stewart will open day two of Champion's Week with a Satellite Media Tour featuring several West Coast news stations. Here's the rest of his Tuesday schedule:

• Stewart will join Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson at the Staten Island University Hospital to visit with children in the Pediatric Burn Unit. The drivers will then make an appearance at The Vanderbilt hotel for a fan event.

• Later in the afternoon, Stewart will visit the Fire Department New York Fire Academy on Randal's Island in Manhattan. Stewart will spend time with FDNY personnel and take part in various training exercises.

Tune in ... NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio is broadcasting live from The Waldorf=Astoria, through Friday at 4 p.m. (ET). Host Claire B. Lang will report on each day's events and feature exclusive interviews with the top 10 drivers and other personalities. ... MRN Radio will also broadcast live from New York, including an interview with Stewart on Tuesday and live coverage of the awards ceremony on Friday. ... SPEED Channel will air a special "NASCAR Takes Manhattan" show live, beginning at 7 p.m. (ET) on Friday.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony

Where: Grand Ballroom, The Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, New York City.

When: 7-10:30 p.m. (ET). Friday, Dec. 2.

TV: TNT, 9 p.m. (ET & PT).

Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.

Final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Tony Stewart 6,533. 2. Greg Biffle 6,498. 3. Carl Edwards 6,498. 4. Mark Martin 6,428. 5. Jimmie Johnson 6,406. 6. Ryan Newman 6,359. 7. Matt Kenseth 6,352. 8. Rusty Wallace 6,140. 9. Jeremy Mayfield 6,073. 10. Kurt Busch 5,974.

11th-place driver: Jeff Gordon.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Kyle Busch.

Special Guest: Comedian Jay Mohr.

Musical Entertainment: Singers Toni Braxton and Gavin DeGraw; Jazz pianist Eric Lewis.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR-CUP