Thursday, April 23, 2009

We know where now, but the question is what

NASCAR announced officially Thursday that the Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony is moving from New York to Las Vegas. After being at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan each year since 1981, this year's championship celebration will be held Dec. 4 at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel.

That's great. Las Vegas is a place where a lot of fun things are always happening. The Cup awards ceremony could be great there. But a change of venue is not what that event needs most.

NASCAR said it doesn't yet know -- or at least it isn't ready to announce -- what format the banquet will take. Specifically, we don't know yet if fans will be allowed to be part of the champion's celebration.

“I can’t say enough about the warm reception from Las Vegas,” said NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer France. “Las Vegas really made it a priority to get the awards ceremony moved there. We were able to come to an agreement on reasonable room blocks, banquet facilities, and approvals to hold fan activities on the famous Las Vegas Strip.”

I don't really have a problem if the ceremony itself is invitation only for the top drivers, their teams and their sponsors the way it was in New York. I'd prefer it if fans could come, too, but that's not a make-or-break thing.

The ceremony will be a success in Las Vegas only if there are events surrounding it that fans can take part in. NASCAR said the "Victory Lap," where cars parade on city streets, will return in Vegas, and that's good. The logistics of that just got out of hand in midtown Manhattan.

I've said this before and it still holds true, but the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony should copy everything it can from country music's "Fan Fest" in Nashville. Make it a weeklong party where fans get several chances to meet the sport's biggest stars. Have some fun with it. Do some things that could be memorable. The biggest thing that was wrong with New York is that NASCAR acted like it was staging a cotillion where everybody was being graded on his or her manners. It's a party, not a church service.

NASCAR also announced that it will combine the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series banquets into one event at the Loews Miami Beach on Monday, Nov. 23, the Monday after the season-ending championship weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway.

That date makes a lot of sense and I have no problem with combining those two series into one event. The only drawback is that it means that only the top five in each series -- instead of the top 10 in each -- will be honored at the banquet.


Anonymous said...

I suspect the Las Veas Event group
paid both NASCAR/France family and Bruton Smith a healty sum to influence the decision to vacate NYC. NASCAR could care less if there is fan participation at this event. Fan partispation depends how much the fans are willing to pay NASCAR!

Kristofer Krause said...

As a resident of north jersey who has only been to the NYC event once (when they used to have a "victory lap" in the street), I am glad NASCAR is leaving the ungrateful city. Let's face it. The inability to build a track on Staten Island is a clear sign that city officials have zero interest in NASCAR.

The greater NY/NJ home town track is Pocono. And that is why Pocono will still continue to host two Cup races. (Thumbs up)

3KillerBs said...

The last thing on earth that the Cup Awards Banquet needs is fan participation.

There is ABSOLUTELY no need to ever hear the top drivers booed at their own banquet unless the booing should be coming from their peers and fellow competitors.

And if you think that fans wouldn't behave badly at the banquet you've been successfully hiding massive naivety for years.

Bobby said...

Bruton must be involved in this banquet ruse the same way he was in the lawsuit to kill NASCAR's Grand Slam.

I think the Las Vegas people paid so much money but the sponsors aren't going to like it. There's a difference between Jimmie Johnson "waving the green flag" to start the trading day or "waving the checkered flag" to end the trading day at Wall Street and sitting through so many shows and nothing else at Vegas when the Las Vegas Marathon and the National Finals Rodeo are taking place at the same time.

The sad thing is it shows how Las Vegas gains events -- all money, nothing else. Racing tradition in Nevada isn't the same as the Tri-State area.

Anonymous said...

Never understood why the event was held in NY in the first place. Not sure Vegas is any better. Why not Atlanta, Charlotte or Daytona?

Anonymous said...

Exactly, hold the banquet in Charlote/Concord where the teams can all celebrate, not just the driver and crew chief.
Oh wait NASCAR just moved all the local banquets (from Camping World East and West)to Concord, so that won't work.

So Nascar is trying to cut costs and all the smaller local teams have to travel to NC to receive their $$ and the Cup teams go to Vegas? That makes sense?!?

Anonymous said...

As a New Yorker this sucks.

Anonymous said...

Why not "FAT BOY'S" in Mooresville?

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Why not Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill in University? Over 35 plasmas and the girls are amazing!

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