The 'big apple' braces for NASCAR as championship festivities descend on midtown Manhattan. It's the usual look of complete befuddlement by manhattan-ites as the NASCAR flag flies from the Waldorf-Astoria and stock cars take to the streets.
That's one of the reasons it's so much fun to throw the banquet here. There is nary a race fan that will bother, stalk, or even recognize the top stars of the sport. The fans that do come in from the suburbs can stick to a well laid out plan of activities that include cars racing through Times Square and Sprint Pit Stops throughout the city where they can meet and greet their favorite drivers.
The 2005 Nextel Cup series champ, Tony Stewart, arrived in New York on Sunday evening to dine with top NASCAR and Sprint/Nextel executives. Monday and Tuesday are filled with a round robin of photo shoots and media interviews with Wednesday being reserved for Stewart to meet sick children at the Staten Island Hospital and later to the FDNY Training Facility to chat with New York's finest.
On Thursday, Stewart will participate in the annual Nextel Press Conference with the other top ten drivers before collecting the big check on Friday night during the Cup Series banquet at the Waldrof's Grand Ballroom.
Stewart not known for his love of the whirl of media activity will finally be able to return home to Indiana post banquet to revel in his second Cup championship before Daytona testing gets underway in just six weeks.