Please welcome NASCAR; past, present, and future. When NASCAR's top ten season finishers arrive in the Big Apple to join back to back champion Jimmie Johnson, the sport will get a look at a cross section of NASCAR history.
The top 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series drivers kicked off their Wednesday morning by appearing on ABC's Good Morning America. Following the customary appearance, Johnson lead the top 10 drivers from the Good Morning America studio in Times Square to the front of The Hard Rock Caf? (43rd Street and 7th Avenue) on the annual 1.5-mile NEXTEL Cup series Victory Lap. "It's really an honor for us to drive through the streets of New York City and see everybody," Johnson said. An audience of about 150,000 watched as Johnson lead the drivers through New York. (New York City has a population of roughly 8.1M)
Although this is the fourth year that NASCAR has featured the Victory Lap, second year "Chase" qualifier Carl Edwards still feels amazed. "It's neat to be able to drive a race car through downtown New York - that's pretty crazy."
Clint Bowyer, who finished third in the 2008 NEXTEL Cup standings, also enjoyed his drive through the Big Apple. "That's not your typical crowd - when you see all these people in suits watching you drive by. That was definitely a neat thing to see all the fans lining the street and seeing all the work and detail that goes into that."
Even though Bowyer will be entering his third season in the Sprint Cup series, he is already starting to look towards 2008 during Champions Week. "This is what's going to make me go into next year and work even harder to make sure I'm part of this again."
The mornings activities finally concluded in The Hard Rock Caf? at 11:30 am after the top 10 drivers had a photo opportunity, attended the Sunoco Checkered Flag Breakfast, and spent time with media from the state, nation, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
At The Hard Rock Caf?, New York City Sports Commissioner Kenneth J. Podziba declared on behalf of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City of New York to NASCAR President Mike Helton that Nov. 26-30 was NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Week.
Johnson concluded his day with the champion's luncheon at the 21 Club with state and regional media.