With the move of the championship banquet from New York City to Las Vegas, NASCAR has announced the return of the Victory Lap as part of Champion's Week celebration. The top 12 drivers in the final points standings will take a Victory Lap along Las Vegas Boulevard on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 3:15 - 4:00 PM.
The procession of the Champion and his 11 merry followers will begin at the MGM Grand and continue along Las Vegas Boulevard to Spring Mountain Road. The Victory Lap will include a Burn Out by the Champion and also a pit stop for all of the cars participating in the event.
"Mr. Las Vegas" Wayne Newton will have the honor of waving the green flag to start the Victory Lap event. Newton is celebrating 50 years on the strip with his show at the Tropicana entitled, "Once Before I Go."
With the return of the Victory Lap, NASCAR also announced several rule changes applicable to the event. First, NASCAR advised that there will be no bump drafting, especially in the corners of the intersection of the Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road.
NASCAR requires that the officials at least see daylight between each and every race car throughout the Victory Lap. Any driver bump drafting or racing too closely will have to go to the tail end of the cars on the lead lap.
While NASCAR has suspended the double file restart for the Victory Lap in celebration of the champion Jimmie Johnson, they will permit Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon to use the guns he won in his only victory at Texas to make sure any restarts are "shootout style." NASCAR has, however, warned Gordon that he may not point the guns at Johnson at any time.
NASCAR has granted special dispensation to the sport's elder statesman and runner-up Mark Martin so he can assist his fellow AARP recipient Wayne Newton with the drop of the green flag. Special accommodations have been made to ensure that the aerobic activity of waving the flag will not be detrimental to anyone's health during the Victory Lap.
While a Champion's burn out is part of the Victory Lap, NASCAR has advised Jimmie Johnson that he may emit only two seconds of burn out smoke in order to comply with the new "greening" of the Las Vegas Strip.
NASCAR has already called both Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya to the NASCAR hauler to ensure the "disagreements" between the drivers will not carry over from the regular season into the Victory Lap. Both drivers have received written warnings and will be suspended for the rest of the season if there is any trouble on the Boulevard.
NASCAR has allowed Kasey Kahne special dispensation. He can put whatever motor he can find left at Petty Motorsports into his car for the Victory Lap.
NASCAR has also announced that any missed lugnuts on the required pit stops during the Victory Lap may be used by teams and fans as skipping stones in the Bellagio fountain. There is a limit of two per person, however, to ensure that no pipes become clogged.
For the Victory Lap only, all drivers will be permitted two posts to their Facebook pages and a maximum of five twitters. NASCAR has warned Juan Pablo Montoya that they will especially be monitoring his Twitter activity.
NASCAR has also granted Kurt Busch's request, made at the Charity Roast of champion Jimmie Johnson, to put Chad Knaus' name into a hat. A special drawing will be made prior to the drop of the green flag and whoever pulls Knaus can have him as their team's crew chief on the box for the Victory Lap.
NASCAR will allow Carl Edwards to do whatever victory celebration he so chooses if he wins the Victory Lap on the strip. Back flips and somersaults are acceptable, however, NASCAR has drawn the line about stripping off the fire suit and any bare-chested activities of any kind.
NASCAR has also warned Chase driver Denny Hamlin that he is not permitted to veer off the Victory Lap course in any way. That includes not veering off the Boulevard even if Brad Keselowski is standing on the sidewalk.
NASCAR has issued a blanket advisory to all competitors, as well as fans, to report any sighting of Sam Hornish, Jr., Michael Waltrip, or Robby Gordon to NASCAR as soon as possible. The sanctioning body is committed to no spin outs or other disruptions during the Victory Lap.
President Mike Helton encourages all fans and competitors to enjoy the resurrection of this special Champion's Week celebration, the Victory Lap in Vegas. He reminded all of the Chase finalists and the Champion that whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.