NASCAR Champions Week Day 2: Drivers Get Racy at After the Lap Driver Q&A
NASCAR Champions Week in Las Vegas was all about having fun and cutting loose on day two of the three-day celebration. The NASCAR Chase drivers traveled down the Las Vegas Strip in the order they finished, prompting Kurt Busch to say he felt like the guy following behind the elephants and horses cleaning up after the parade.
There were a few casualties along the way as the drivers did their lap down the Las Vegas Strip then headed down Paradise Road to the Hard Rock Hotel. Aside from Kevin Harvick burning down his tires and Jimmie Johnson smoking up his cockpit, the cars made it back to Hard Rock in one piece with little assistance.
Once the drivers arrived, it was time for the NASCAR Las Vegas After the Lap Fans Q&A session inside The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. The venue was full and the fans that did not have a ticket for the special event watched on screens out in the fan zone in the Hard Rock Hotel parking lot.
Jimmie Johnson Chose a Different Point of Entry Than Other NASCAR Chase Drivers
The NASCAR Chase drivers entered the After the Lap Driver Q&A through the main doors, but Jimmie Johnson entered through a special side entrance, driving his car into The Joint. No, he did not do any donuts inside, but something to consider for next year, NASCAR.
The Richard Childress teammates Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton entered with their own Budweiser bottles and somehow Tony Stewart found one also. Harvick will be sponsored by Budweiser in 2011. As Stewart prepared to walk out into the crowd, he was offered a water. He smiled and dangled his Budweiser bottle as he walked by.
Underwear Was a Major Topic between the Drivers during the Q&A Session
During the After the Lap Q&A session, the subject of underwear took center stage and it began with a question about superstition. Jimmie Johnson threw out, "Why don't you ask Clint about women's underwear?"
Clint Bowyer countered, " What about Kyle? He was wearing green underwear today." Bowyer then had to explain how he knew this.
"We were in this green room that was about six by six and we all had to change out of our fire suits. We were all giving Kyle a hard time about his green underwear."
The underwear jokes were a recurring theme throughout the one hour and 20 minute After the Lap session. This brought an observation from Tony Stewart, "All I know is there were way too many of you staring at each other's junk in there."
When these drivers retire, they will have to go tour comedy clubs together.
Jeff Gordon Gives Kyle Busch Advice Regarding Marriage and Divorce
Kyle Busch was given sound advice from a man that is in his second marriage and been through one divorce. Jeff Gordon said when asked what advice he had for Kyle, "I can't give you great advice about marriage but I can give you plenty of advice about divorce."
Tony Stewart then jumped in with some pointed words about Jeff Gordon's ex-wife, "She didn't drive a race car one lap and she does not deserve his money." Several other drivers chimed in advising Kyle about a pre nup.
Carl Edwards Does Not Take Bait To Take Shirt Off
A fan asked the question, "We can drink a six pack but you have six pack abs. How do you do it?" As Edwards was answering the question sheepishly, he explained that his picture on the cover of Men's Health was doctored a bit to reveal a more cut and larger physique.
The women were not buying it though, and led by Clint Bowyer (why did he want to Edwards with his shirt off?), the women began chanting, "Carl, Carl, Carl!" It was to no avail and Carl finally said, "I will show off my six pack if Kyle pulls down his pants and shows his green underwear."
Curious Contract Exclusions Lead To More Fun about Jeff Gordon's New Sponsor
The subject of contract do's and don'ts came up with a mention of the AFLAC duck. Carl Edwards laughed and said, "In my contract I am not allowed to duck hunt." Edwards then asked the others if they had any exclusions and Clint Bowyer said, "With Jeff Gordon's new sponsor he is not allowed to have fun."
Jeff Gordon's sponsor for 2011 is AARP, American Association of Retired Persons. The drivers have been giving Gordon grief over the new sponsor since it was announced, and once Bowyer opened the door all the other drivers piled on.
Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon Laugh about Their Altercation at Texas
One of the funnier moments was a little uncomfortable also. Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton still have some unsettled issues with their dispute at Texas a month ago. Jeff Burton did laugh it off somewhat when he said, "Don't y'all have anything better to do than watch two middle aged men fight?"
Hamlin jumped in, "At least he took his helmet off for this one."
Gordon laughed and said, "I have gotten so much grief over having my helmet on when I went after Matt (Kenseth). I made sure my helmet was off when I walked up."
ESPN's Jamie Little, the emcee for the event, stirred the pot a little more when Jeff Gordon leaned over and said, "I am still not sure how that happened." Gordon looked Burton's way and Little asked directly, "Yes, Jeff how did that happen under caution?"
Burton responded, "I can't hear anything."
Bowyer lightened the mood a little, "Next time someone goes at it like that they need to throw a red. I am crashed into the back of the car in front of me watching you two."
Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick Laugh about Drunk Dialing Chip Ganassi
When a video question from a relative of Joe Dirt asked, "What is your wildest night ever in Las Vegas?" Tony Stewart said, "Tonight." He then talked about a night at Kevin Harvick's "mansion." Harvick and Stewart were drunk and they kept drunk dialing Chip Ganassi. Interesting choice.
Carrot Top Closes the Show and Gives a Few Memorable One-Liners
Carrot Top closed the show, entering on a miniaturized version of Jimmie Johnson's No. 48. Carrot Top began by reminiscing about his first time meeting Jimmie Johnson. "He comes up to me and says 'hi I'm a NASCAR driver.' I said, 'A NASCAR driver? You are Jimmie Johnson!'"
Carrot Top went on to say, "On that same trip I met Jeff Gordon." Carrot Top fake whispers to the crowd, "Gay sleepover." Carrot Top was serious when he did say he was a true NASCAR fan and went on to say, I have half these guys' numbers but I don't have Jeff's."
NMPA/Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon Ends with Somber Recognition of Jim Hunter
The loss of Jim Hunter was more apparent than ever during NASCAR Champions Week. It would have been a week he would have reveled in, and he would have been an important person to help organize and help things run smoothly. It was a tribute to Hunter that everything ran smoothly and has been a success in the first two days of NASCAR Champions Week.
Hunter was honored with the NMPA Myers Brothers Award. As Mike Joy concluded the presentation he said, "Before Jim found such great success with NASCAR and ISC, he was a very talented writer. He was one of us. And he always will be."
The following is the list of all the awards presented during the NPMA Meyers Brothers Awards Luncheon:
Foundation's Track of the Year: Daytona International Speedway
NASCAR Marketing Achievement: Nationwide Insurance
NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian: Tony Stewart
NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Jim Hunter
Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Coors Light Pole Award: Jamie McMurray
DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick)
Goodyear Gatorback Belts Fastest Lap Award: Jimmie Johnson
Goodyear Tires Award: Jimmie Johnson
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Year: Earl Wheeler (engine builder for Jimmie Johnson)
Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew of the Year: No. 11, Joe Gibbs Racing
Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Year: Kurt Busch
Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year: Gil Martin (crew chief for Kevin Harvick)
O'Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award: Kevin Harvick
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Kevin Conway
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson
Tissot Pit Road Precision Award: No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing
WIX Filters Lap Leader Award: Denny Hamlin
Championship Sponsor Award: Lowe's
Champion Crew Chief Award: Chad Knaus
Guess Who Won NASCAR Most Popular Driver
Dale Earnhardt Jr won the Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award for the eighth consecutive year, but he is already looking forward with eager anticipation to the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Fans cast more than 1.5 million total votes. They were allowed to vote once a day, and the other finalists were: Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.
Earnhardt was anxious to discuss the upcoming season with new crew chief Steve LaTarte. "It's like knowing what you're getting for Christmas, but not being able to mess with it until that morning. It's a lot of anticipation, and I think it's healthy. We need this to happen. I needed this to happen. Hopefully this is a good position. Hopefully this will get me back to winning races."