Champion's Week, day two report

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion's Week Presented by Sprint--Day 2 * Memorable Moments: FDNY Fire Academy and Staten Island University Hospital visits * On Deck: Victory Lap presented by Sprint brings thrill of NASCAR to streets of ...

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion's Week Presented by Sprint--Day 2

* Memorable Moments: FDNY Fire Academy and Staten Island University Hospital visits

* On Deck: Victory Lap presented by Sprint brings thrill of NASCAR to streets of Manhattan

NEW YORK (Nov. 29, 2005) -- As NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) continued his busy slate of media interviews, appearances and social functions in New York, the rest of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 drivers arrived in the city and joined Stewart in Tuesday's activities.

A highlight of Tuesday's "NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion's Week presented by Sprint" schedule was a visit to the FDNY New York Fire Academy in Manhattan.

Stewart met the probationary officers, who are still undergoing training and affectionately dubbed "probys" by their fellow firefighters. Stewart also participated in a few training exercises, led by FDNY Fitness Instructor, Lieutenant Mike Cacciola.

Earlier, Stewart, Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford) and Brian Vickers (No. 25 GMAC Financial Services/ditech.com Chevrolet) attended a fundraising event for the Staten Island University Hospital's Pediatric Burn Center.

Witnessing the intensive training exercises at the fire academy and spending time with the burn center's youngest patients provided a day of reflection for NASCAR's biggest stars.

"It's unbelievable, I have to pinch myself everyday," said Edwards. "To be able to do what we're doing and to be in New York City, taking the helicopter over Manhattan, it's just unreal. I got to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time. This whole thing is just unreal to me. I'm glad to be here."

For Busch, who was the center of attention as the 2004 champion, Tuesday's trip brought back fond memories of his own Champion's Week experience.

"I'm able to enjoy things a bit better this year," said Busch. "It gives me a vision and a memory of what it meant last year to win the championship. These great people in Staten Island, and just to make the hospital visit, that's something I didn't get the chance to do last year. Every time I get the chance to come to New York as a top 10 driver, I'll enjoy it."

On Wednesday, the schedule continues with several key events:

Victory Lap a thrill for New Yorkers ... Wednesday morning's "NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Victory Lap presented by Sprint" is the second running of this unique event, which was first staged in 2004. The top 10 drivers will get in uniform and drive their show cars across town. The route begins at Rockefeller Center, cutting through Times Square and several side streets before driving up 375 Park Avenue to the finish line in front of NASCAR's New York office. The event will be televised live on The Today Show on NBC, where hosts Anne Curry and Al Roker will join in the festivities. Curry will ride shotgun in Tony Stewart's show car, while Roker will give the command for drivers to start their engines and begin their memorable ride. The Today Show's coverage begins at 9 a.m. (ET) with the Victory Lap scheduled to roll off at 9:15. Fan viewing areas are setup between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue (on the south side), between 46th Street and 47th Street (on the west side), at Bryant Park between 5th and 6th Avenues and between 47th and 48th (on the east side).

Helton and Johnson join France for March of Dimes luncheon ... NASCAR President Mike Helton and Jimmie Johnson will join NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France at the 22nd Annual Greater New York March of Dimes Sports Luncheon on Wednesday at the Waldorf=Astoria. Johnson, who finished fifth in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and is attending Champion's Week in New York for the fourth consecutive year, will present France with the March of Dimes' Sports Leadership Award.

Hoop it Up ... Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) and Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) head to Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. on Wednesday, for NASCAR Night at the Nets presented by Pocono Raceway. The drivers will be treated to front row seats and be honored at halftime of Wednesday's game against the Detroit Pistons. Four Nets fans will be invited courtside to receive an autograph from one of the drivers, 25 fans will receive a NASCAR-licensed Nextel phone and four fans will receive tickets to a 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway.

Checkers chips in ... Checkers/Rally's, the Official Drive-Thru and Official Burger of NASCAR, will join in the Champion's Week festivities in New York with two special fan-oriented events. On Thursday, the double drive-thru restaurant chain will give away a car to a deserving member of the Newark, N.J. community, in front of Madison Square Garden. The giveaway promotion will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Checkers will conduct a drawing for its national sweepstakes $100,000 grand prize in a special ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria. The sweepstakes drawing will take place immediately following the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) / Myers Brothers Breakfast presented by Sunoco on Friday morning.

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.

-nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Mike Helton , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin