NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Week -- Day 2 * Wednesday's Victory Lap takes NASCAR to the streets of Manhattan * On Deck: NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon recognizes 2006 special award winners NEW YORK (Nov. 28, 2006) -- New...
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Week -- Day 2
* Wednesday's Victory Lap takes NASCAR to the streets of Manhattan
* On Deck: NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon recognizes 2006 special award winners
NEW YORK (Nov. 28, 2006) -- New York City traffic gets a makeover, NASCAR style, on Wednesday.
The "Victory Lap," featuring a procession of the Top 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers and their cars, takes the green flag at 8:50 a.m. Wednesday. For fans at home, the event can be seen live on ABC's "Good Morning America."
It's a moment not to be missed.
The spectacle begins at 44th Street and Broadway, in front of Good Morning America's Times Square Studios, and finishes at 42nd Street and Broadway, in front of the ESPN Zone -- back in the heart of Times Square. In between, the 10 powerful stock cars wind their way through city streets, bringing a taste of NASCAR's speed and sound to Manhattan residents and tourists alike.
The procession will be led by 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), who arrived in New York on Sunday. Johnson has taken the busy schedule in stride and says he's looking forward to a reunion with his crew members and fellow competitors later in the week.
"It's been a good week," said Johnson. "Today and tomorrow really are the busy days and things slow down as we get closer to the banquet, so I can go out and celebrate a little more with my guys.
"[Being the champion] sinks in a little more each day. I think when we get to the banquet weekend, and I'm able to see competitors and team members, it'll sink in even more after that."
Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, has also relished the time in New York and his new title of championship crew chief.
"It's been a good experience so far," said Knaus, who was brought into racing by his father, John, a standout NASCAR Late Model driver at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway and a 1994 NASCAR regional champion. "It's amazing; this is a lifelong dream of mine. I've wanted it since I was a child. My father groomed me to get into this. Some fathers groom their sons to be quarterbacks or drivers -- my Dad really raised me to be a crew chief and it's worked out well for me. [Winning the championship] has been phenomenal. It's almost like a weight lifted off of my shoulders because it's something I've driven so hard for, for so long."
A view from the top ... Jimmie Johnson's view from the top of the racing world matched his view from the "Top of the Rock" observatory, on the 70th floor of the historic 30 Rockefeller Center building on Tuesday afternoon. Johnson visited the high-rise landmark for a photo shoot, before adjourning to the Waldorf=Astoria to appear on the nationally-syndicated "NASCAR Live" radio show on the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
Following the Victory Lap on Wednesday, preparations for the Awards Ceremony and the slate of activities continues. The schedule includes:
Thursday: The NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon at Cipriani on 42nd Street will honor the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers, champions from NASCAR's other series and all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers who are receiving seasonal awards.
Afterward, all 2006 series champions will gather for the annual champions' photo shoot, at Rockefeller Plaza. On Thursday evening, the group of champions will be treated to an exclusive Champions' Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria.
Friday: Johnson and his team will pose for formal photos on New York's Park Avenue before attending several pre-awards ceremony receptions. Then, Johnson officially will be crowned NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion; the Awards Ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Waldorf=Astoria's Grand Ballroom. SPEED will broadcast a live Awards Ceremony pre-show, "NASCAR Takes Manhattan," beginning at 7 p.m. (ET), while TNT will air the ceremony at 9 p.m. (ET).
Pit Stop Tour ... For any local race fans that missed the Victory Lap, several slower-moving cars will be visible throughout Champion's Week. In fact, several race cars will be parked on display at many popular New York City locations every day this week.
From 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., today through Friday, six city locations will host the Champion's Week Pit Stop Tour, where fans can view NASCAR stock cars up close. The locations are: Times Square/Military Island (Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets); Bryant Park (6th Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets); by the News Corp. Building (6th Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets); Madison Square Garden (7th Avenue between 31st and 32nd Streets); at the Tissot Retail Gallery/Tourneau Atrium (57th & Madison Avenue); and the Sprint retail store located at 175 5th Avenue, between 22nd and 23rd Streets.
Running for a cause ... Although he didn't finish in the top 10 and won't be in New York, Kyle Petty (No. 45 Wells Fargo/Tire Kingdom Dodge) has a very important event on his calendar this weekend. The Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty, has teamed up with Runner's World columnist John Bingham for the inaugural Victory Junction Run Half Marathon and 4.5K run on Sunday, Dec 3. Petty, an avid runner who completed the Walt Disney World Marathon in January, is planning to compete in the run while his father, seven-time series champion Richard Petty, will serve as Grand Marshal.
The run will start in the Petty's hometown of Randleman, N.C. and finish inside the Victory Junction Gang Camp. All proceeds from the run will benefit the camp. For additional information, visit www.victoryjunctionrun.org.
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); NBC, Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
Final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Jimmie Johnson 6,475. 2. Matt Kenseth 6,419. 3. Denny Hamlin 6,407. 4. Kevin Harvick 6,397. 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6,328. 6. Jeff Gordon 6,256. 7. Jeff Burton 6,228. 8. Kasey Kahne 6,183. 9. Mark Martin 6,168. 10. Kyle Busch 6,027.
11th-place driver: Tony Stewart.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Denny Hamlin.
Musical Entertainment: Jewel.