NASCAR Busch Series Champion's Week 2006 -- Day 2 * Kevin Harvick prepares for second career championship banquet * Top-10 drivers enjoy outdoor activities at Disney complex ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 8, 2006) -- Friday began with fun and games ...
NASCAR Busch Series Champion's Week 2006 -- Day 2
* Kevin Harvick prepares for second career championship banquet
* Top-10 drivers enjoy outdoor activities at Disney complex
ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 8, 2006) -- Friday began with fun and games but eventually will turn to pomp and circumstance when Kevin Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet) is officially crowned champion of the NASCAR Busch Series tonight. Harvick will be joined by his Richard Childress Racing team at Disney's Grand Floridian in Orlando, Fla. During the NASCAR Busch Series Awards Banquet he'll celebrate his dominant 2006 performance at the NASCAR Busch Series Awards Banquet.
Harvick put together one of the top seasons in series history. He finished the year with nine wins, 23 top fives and 32 top 10s. His 824-point final margin over second-place Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest/Henkel Ford) was the largest in series history.
"This has just been an unbelievable season," Harvick said. "Everybody has done an outstanding job all year. Getting to celebrate with my team tonight is something I'm looking forward to."
Harvick and the other NASCAR Busch Series top-10 drivers arrived in Orlando on Wednesday night in advance of two days of media opportunities and other activities. NASCAR Busch Series Champion's Week kicked off Thursday with Media Day at ESPN Club at Disney's BoardWalk. The drivers then took turns spinning "hot laps" for the media with the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway.
The fun continued Friday morning as the group split time between three activities at Disney properties -- batting practice, a fishing trip and a golf scramble.
Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet) and championship crew chief Shane Wilson led a group for a few rounds of batting practice at The Ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, home of the Atlanta Braves spring training camp. The group was met by Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, an avid NASCAR fan who took batting practice with the drivers and offered pointers.
After several at-bats, Wilson, who played baseball in high school and had a brief college stint, was content with his performance.
"I made some contact," Wilson said. "It's been 16 years since I've picked up a bat ... and it felt like it."
Apart from Barrett, the top slugger of the day was Sauter.
"I had a great time, and now have a blister to prove it," Sauter said. "It was fun to spend the time with Michael (Barrett) and hopefully we can get him to a race sometime soon since he's such a big NASCAR fan."
In the other activities, champion team owner Richard Childress joined a group that included B.A.S.S. pros for a morning fishing excursion. It came as no surprise when Childress, a noted outdoorsman, was among the first to land a fish. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet) and Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) participated in a nine-hole golf scramble at Osprey Ridge Golf Course, one of five championship courses on the Disney properties.
On-track activities start with Daytona testing ... The preseason officially launches in January with NASCAR Jackson-Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona. The NASCAR Busch Series teams will be split into two groups for their annual test session at Daytona International Speedway. Teams that were in odd positions in the car owner standings following the USG Durock 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 8 will test from Jan. 19 - Jan. 21. Teams that were in even positions in the car owner standings will test from Jan. 21 -- Jan. 23. Drivers will hold Q&A sessions with fans on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 as part of NASCAR Jackson-Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fanfest. FAST FACTS
What: NASCAR Busch Series Awards Banquet
Where: Grand Floridian Ballroom, Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel, Orlando, Fla.
When: 7-10:30 p.m. (ET). Friday, Dec. 8.
TV: TNT, Midnight (ET), Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Final NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 5,648. 2. Carl Edwards 4,824. 3. Clint Bowyer 4,683. 4. Denny Hamlin 4,667. 5. J.J. Yeley 4,487. 6. Paul Menard 4,075. 7. Kyle Busch 3,921. 8. Johnny Sauter 3,794. 9. Greg Biffle 3,789. 10. Reed Sorenson 3,670.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Danny O'Quinn Jr.
Hosts: Marty Snider, Lindsay Czarnaik.
Musical Entertainment: Robert Randolph & The Family Band.
Comedian: Jim Gaffigan.