Whether NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are smarter than fifth graders remains a matter of debate after Wednesday’s Las Vegas Motor Speedway-sponsored Fanfest at the Fremont Street Experience.
But the event, a highlight on Day Two of Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, was proof that the 12 qualifiers for this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ enjoy a good laugh – especially at their own expense – and the opportunity to mingle with hundreds of NASCAR fans young and old.
Only Martin Truex Jr. was willing, beforehand, to admit to being smarter than the fifth graders from Nellis Air Force Base’s Lomie Heard Elementary School. That turned out to be the wrong decision as neither he nor Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Clint Bowyer were able to supply the winning answers to various math questions, the length of the regular term of a U.S. Senator and the name of the line that separates the earth’s top and bottom halves.
Stump the drivers, then, might have been the most descriptive title for the hour’s worth of fun, hosted by Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon and former Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year Kevin Burke, who plies his comic trade at Fremont Street Experience’s Fitzgeralds Hotel and Casino.
“We drive cars for a reason,” observed Kevin Harvick after one wrong response, possibly speaking for each of his 11 colleagues.
In the end, the winners were Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart, current and former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions. Stewart supplied the correct answer – after giving Burke the opening to comment on the driver’s ample midsection.
“You’ve still got your washboard stomach,” Burke told the three-time champion. “You’re just carrying a load of laundry on it.”
Keselowski joined the fun by lifting the team’s fifth grader overhead, trophy-style.
Also honored on Wednesday were this year’s finalists for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award – Ron Eby, Michael Jackson, Ali McDonough and Lorri Shealy Unumb – at an evening reception at Wynn Las Vegas. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the Award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, Nov. 30.
Fans can cast their vote to determine the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting NASCAR.COM/award before 11:59 p.m. ET November 29.
Here are upcoming Champion’s Week events at a glance:
Thursday, Nov. 29
· Chevrolet SS Race Car Unveiled at Wynn Las Vegas: A press conference will be held, at 9:30 a.m. PT, at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas, to unveil the 2013 Chevrolet SS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car. Media attendance is encouraged; however, this event is not open to the public. The event will be streamed live on NASCAR.COM.
· NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will be held from 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. PT, in the Encore Ballroom at Encore Las Vegas, where several team awards will be presented. Among those awards included are the Champion Sponsor, Champion Crew Chief, Sunoco Rookie of the Year and NMPA Most Popular Driver awards. The event will be streamed live on NASCAR.COM.
· NASCAR Victory Lap: The green flag on fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap will wave at 3:30 p.m. PT, with pre-lap festivities to begin at 3 p.m. PT, when the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will parade down Las Vegas Blvd. in their race cars with engines roaring. NASCAR Victory Lap will start and finish on Las Vegas Blvd., in front of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and will once again provide fans with a unique experience to feel the excitement of a NASCAR start line, feature an authentic pit stop (performed by members of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program presented by Sprint) and two burn-out sections for drivers — with viewing areas along the route. The event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90 and streamed live on NASCAR.COM.
· NASCAR After The Lap Sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola: One of the premier events of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, NASCAR After the Lap Sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. PT, at PH LIVE located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Fans can purchase tickets at www.NASCARafterthelap.com for $20 each (all proceeds benefit The NASCAR Foundation) to attend the unpredictable, unforgettable driver tell-all event featuring the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. The event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90 and live streamed on NASCAR.COM.
· The Stewie Awards: Following NASCAR After The Lap, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and Matt Yocum will host the sixth annual “Stewie Awards,” a lighthearted year-in-review, which airs live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.
Friday, Nov. 30
· 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: The postseason, black tie event will begin at 5 p.m. PT at Wynn Las Vegas, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion driver and owner will be crowned and the top 10 drivers in the final standings will be honored. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, the culmination of Champion’s Week, will feature red carpet arrivals, celebrity guests, music and entertainment. Hosted by “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel, the show will feature performances by Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and entertainers from The Beatles LOVE. SPEED, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide live coverage of the event. Prior to the awards, NASCAR.COM will live stream a Miss Sprint Cup chat with Brad Keselowski.
For more information on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, visit NASCAR.com/ChampionsWeek.
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