White House visit a highlight of Kenseth's week that ends with Waldorf celebration
NEW YORK (Nov. 30, 2003) -- Newly crowned NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth is used to donning his race-day game face, but even he is likely to gain a new respect for speed following the 2003 Champion's Week.
The headliner of NASCAR's annual season-ending celebration, Kenseth and his No. 17 DeWALT Ford team will celebrate Roush Racing's first NASCAR Winston Cup Series title this week amid the glitz, glitter and holiday bustle of New York.
Celebrating in the Big Apple is a much-loved tradition: NASCAR has feted the champion of its premier series in New York since 1981, and this year's Champion's Week is packed with fun, festivities and appearances -- quite enough to keep Kenseth racing about town.
He and wife Katie arrive this evening to kick off the week's activities. Officially, Kenseth's schedule begins with Monday visits to New York police and fire departments.
It includes several mid-week dinners, an official proclamation from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday in Times Square, and even features a Tuesday jaunt down to Washington, to visit the White House and meet President Bush
There's also a full slate of photo shoots, guest appearances on top-rated national morning television shows and myriad media opportunities.
Kenseth, 31, is celebrating his first NASCAR Winston Cup title, as is his team owner Jack Roush. The fourth-year NASCAR Winston Cup driver from Cambridge, Wis., will culminate the 2003 Champion's Week by attending -- and being the focus of -- Friday evening's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.
* What's on tap tomorrow for the champion ... Kenseth opens Champion's Week with early-morning appearances on The Today Show and Live with Regis & Kelly. Monday afternoon, he visits the New York Fire Department's Ladder 17 and the New York Police Department's 17th Precinct. Monday night, he and his team will attend a welcoming dinner at the Waldorf.
* NASCAR Top 10 joins celebration ... Champion's Week can be a welcome whirlwind, but Kenseth won't go it alone. The rest of the NASCAR Top 10 and Raybestos Rookie of the Year Jamie McMurray will participate in many activities during the week, including Tuesday's White House reception with President George W. Bush, and Friday's Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf. Each morning, a driver will appear on Live with Regis & Kelly, beginning with Kenseth on Monday, Jimmie Johnson on Tuesday, Jeff Gordon on Wednesday, Tony Stewart on Thursday and Kevin Harvick on Friday. McMurray (Thursday) and NASCAR Busch Series champion Brian Vickers (Friday) will appear on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" morning show.
* Show-car, autograph opportunities ... On Thursday, Kenseth and several other drivers will sign autographs from 10 a.m., until noon at the NBC Experience at Rockefeller Center. Joining the NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion will be McMurray, Vickers, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil, and Kurt Busch, one of Kenseth's Roush Racing teammates in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Show cars also will be on display around New York during the week, including Kenseth's No. 17 DeWALT Ford at Lincoln Center and the Seagram Building Plaza, Elliott Sadler's No. 38 M&Ms Ford at Broadway and 44th Street, Ricky Craven's No. 32 Tide Pontiac at Madison Square Garden, Joe Nemechek's No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac at the Times Square recruiting station, the Coca-Cola car at Bryant Park and Tony Stewart's No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet at Union Square.
* NASCAR Class of 2003 photo ... At 11 a.m. on Friday, Kenseth, Vickers and Kvapil will join the champions of NASCAR's regional and national touring series for a "class photo" in New York's Central Park. One of the city's famous horse-drawn carriages will serve as a backdrop.
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).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
Final 2003 NASCAR Top 10:
1. Matt Kenseth 5,022
2. Jimmie Johnson 4,932.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4,815
4. Jeff Gordon 4,785
5. Kevin Harvick 4,770
6. Ryan Newman 4,711
7. Tony Stewart 4,549
8. Bobby Labonte 4,377
9. Bill Elliott 4,303
10. Terry Labonte 4,162
Master of Ceremonies: Golden Globe-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland.
Musical entertainment: Harry Connick Jr., LeAnn Rimes.