Champion's Week, day four report

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion's Week Presented by Sprint - Day 4 * Final Countdown: Top 10 drivers visit NYSE, France delivers 'State of the Sport' speech * Champions Dinner: Champions from every NASCAR series will be honored NEW YORK...

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion's Week Presented by Sprint - Day 4

* Final Countdown: Top 10 drivers visit NYSE, France delivers 'State of the Sport' speech

* Champions Dinner: Champions from every NASCAR series will be honored

NEW YORK (Dec. 1, 2005) -- With only one day remaining before the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony, the flurry of New York City activities picked up for the series' Top 10 drivers.

Champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) opened the day with his fellow Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors at the New York Stock Exchange. The group, along with NASCAR President Mike Helton and Sprint Nextel Chief Marketing Officer Mark Schweitzer were guests of honor and helped kick off the day by ringing the opening bell.

Activities continued at an afternoon luncheon and press conference at Cipriani. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France addressed the group with a 'State of the Sport' speech highlighting the 2005 season. In his speech, France congratulated Stewart and the Home Depot Team for its championship. France also pointed out the importance of keeping competition close on the track.

"The close competition we had this year in the three national series is precisely what keeps our fans coming back for more," France said. "Preserving the competitive balance for every team that competes in NASCAR is one of the most important jobs we have."

France also mentioned the long history of having the Champions Awards Ceremony in New York.

"New York is the media capital of the world, we love being here. Tomorrow night, at the Waldorf=Astoria, we'll celebrate our 25th year in New York."

Donahue also spoke at the event, sharing Sprint Nextel's overview of their second season as title sponsor of NASCAR's top division.

Stewart was not the only champion recognized at the event. A special photo was arranged for the champions of each of NASCAR's 12 divisions, including the national touring series, regional touring series and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. It is the only time during the year that all of the champions are brought together.

Afterwards Stewart was taken to Times Square where he posed for a championship picture with his show car and trophy on Military Island. While there, a plaque from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declaring Thursday "NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Day" in the city was presented to Sprint Nextel Vice President of Sports Marketing Michael Robichaud.

The night will conclude for Stewart with the Sprint Champion's Celebration. Stewart and his team will be honored by Sprint Nextel at the Marriot Marquee.

"Its been awesome and we've had great weather," Stewart said about his week in the city. "I definitely think it's a great place to celebrate the championship."

Champions of NASCAR Dinner ... A special dinner celebration will be held Thursday night to honor all of the NASCAR champions. The champions, including Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR Busch Series), Ted Musgrave (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series), Andy Santerre (Busch North Series), Mike Duncan (West Series), Tony Hirschman (Whelen Modified Tour), Junior Miller (Whelen Southern Modified Tour), Justin Diercks (Midwest Series), Jeff Jefferson (Northwest Series), Jeff Fultz (Southeast Series), Jim Pettit II (Southwest Series) and Peyton Sellers (NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series) will be joined by NASCAR executives and various media members in the Empire Room at the Waldorf=Astoria. Each champion will be presented with a commemorative champion's helmet, specially designed in recognition of their 2005 championship.

Ronald McDonald House Visit ... Several of the Top 10 drivers will make a special trip to the Ronald McDonald House of New York. The Ronald McDonald House is a temporary home for children undergoing cancer treatment. Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Ford), Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge), Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) and Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet) will have a private visit with the children and their families.

Breakfast of Champions ... Friday's schedule begins with the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) / Myers Brothers Breakfast, in the Starlight Room at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. The event kicks off the final day of Champion's Week with several special award presentations -- which altogether represent over $750,000 in prize money. The awards include: Budweiser Pole Award (Ryan Newman), Clevite Engine Builder Award (Mark Cronquist, Joe Gibbs Racing), Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge Award (Ryan Newman), Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award (Tony Stewart), MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award (Tony Stewart), Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet crew), Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Year Award (Ryan Newman), Commit Lozenges Commit to Win Award (Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), WIX Filters Lap Leader Award (Tony Stewart), USG Improving the Finish Award (Elliott Sadler, No. 38 M&M's Ford) and the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award (Tony Stewart). Two awards have yet to be announced and the winners will be named on Friday morning: the Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award and the NMPA's Myers Brothers Award.

Fast Facts

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).

Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.

Final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Tony Stewart 6,533. 2. Greg Biffle 6,498. 3. Carl Edwards 6,498. 4. Mark Martin 6,428. 5. Jimmie Johnson 6,406. 6. Ryan Newman 6,359. 7. Matt Kenseth 6,352. 8. Rusty Wallace 6,140. 9. Jeremy Mayfield 6,073. 10. Kurt Busch 5,974.

11th-place driver: Jeff Gordon.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Kyle Busch.

Special Guest: Comedian Jay Mohr.

Musical Entertainment: Singers Toni Braxton and Gavin DeGraw; Jazz pianist Eric Lewis.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Ted Musgrave , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Jeff Fultz , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Junior Miller , Jeff Jefferson , Jim Pettit II , Mike Helton , Elliott Sadler , Peyton Sellers , Justin Diercks , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing