Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trying To Make Sense Of Champions Week

Las Vegas Motor Speedway just announced the Chasers for Charity Fanfest to be held Dec. 2, which is the beginning of Championship Week. As you may know, TDP has been pushing for some information on events in the area open to the public and those that may involve NASCAR TV.

Up until this point, the LVMS website did not even mention Championship Week. Here is some more official information:

The event will include a free-admission fan event throughout the afternoon as well as a charity roast of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. The fanfest will serve as the kickoff for NASCAR's inaugural Champion's Week in Las Vegas.

"One of the key elements to bringing NASCAR Champion's Week to Las Vegas was creating an event for race fans," said LVMS president Chris Powell. "This event will bring the drivers and the fans closer together and raise money for charity in the process. We're very appreciative of NASCAR's efforts to make this a special fan event that we hope becomes a tradition during Champion's Week."

The charity portion of the event will begin with a procession of the Chase drivers and the champion through the Neon Garage. A reception in the speedway media center will follow the procession, with credentialed fans having an opportunity to mingle with the drivers.

The event will culminate with the roast in the Blackjack Club. Admission to the reception and roast is $250 per person and will be limited to the first 300 people due to space limitations. Proceeds from the event will benefit Speedway Children's Charities.

The fanfest will allow fans free admission to the Neon Garage beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Live entertainment and car displays will entertain race fans for the early part of the event. At approximately 2 p.m., the Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers and the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will arrive and walk a red carpet through the Neon Garage. The roast will be shown via closed-circuit television throughout the Neon Garage.

Well, this is interesting. No information has been produced by NASCAR to encourage fans to travel to Las Vegas for some fun during Championship Week. Now, Powell is saying one purpose of moving to that city was for the fans to attend events like this one.

It seems that NASCAR Now will be over for the season by December 2, so that leaves Race Hub on SPEED as the only possible show that may originate from Vegas during that week. Right now, SPEED has not yet advised if Race Hub will end after Homestead or continue through the off-season. None of the NASCAR TV networks have said they will be holding any kind of organized activities or functions for the fans.

Not quite sure who is in charge of this event, but fans of the Chase drivers need to know if a Vegas vacation is going to be worthwhile or if the LVMS event is a "locals only" affair. This is our third column on this topic and reaction so far has been this one press release from LVMS. Luckily, a fan emailed it to us.

What is your take on this Championship Week topic? Is this something that NASCAR should have organized long ago and let fans prepare? Or is the week for teams, driver and sponsors while the fans should just stay home?

To add your opinion on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. The complete NASCAR TV schedule is located on the right side of the TDP mainpage just under our Twitter comments. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.


Anonymous said...

I don't think NASCAR is going to roll-out a full-fleged promotion. For the Vegas race, they seat over 140,000 and thousands more go to town head-to-toe in team colors just for the atmosphere and to watch on the giant screens in the sportsbooks.

They can't get even half that many people in the Neon Garage. Not even close. Even if they put the roast in a big room, there aren't 14,000 people who want to pay $250 to hear Jimmie Johnson jokes.

First of all, this weekend is for the drivers. Second, if hardcore fans want to go and be a part of it, it sounds like they will have some events and are rolling them out now. If tons of people show up, which they don't really want, they can't accomodate them anyway.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your posts about the banquet for awhile now, and you always sound so selfish: Where are my events? Where are my package deals? Will this be a worthwhile vacation for ME?

This is the banquet - this is about the drivers. It is their party. The fact that is in Vegas and might be more accessible than in the past is all a bonus. You, me, and the fans have never been invited to the banquet ever before. This year, they want to stary opening it up and all they get from you is: I want more, I want more, I want more.

It's not all about you.

Charlie said...

We should have gotten information about this months ago. To usually get the best airline deals you have to start looking 3 months before you want to go.
Nascar could have made this into one of the best Fan Friendly banquets ever.
They could have been promoting this since the middle of the season and got everyone fired up about it.
Just think of all the Fan things Nascar could do in wide open Las Vegas.

Richard in N.C. said...

NASCAR does seem to be in the habit of outsourcing functions and then relying on the outsourcee to pull them off - e.g., Goodyear for tires and Turner for the NASCAR website. The "silent" party in all of this that I find surprising is the LV convention or visitors bureau, which I thought paid several $100,000's to get the Banquet moved to LV - maybe that's all in-kind support. It surprises me that the LV visitors bureau has not been promoting this, especially since I read that business is off so much in LV and the race draws so well there. Maybe the LV visitors bureau has been cut back and does not have the people or the funds to promote the Banquet this year.

Anonymous said...

anon at 10:37pm wrote
"This year, they want to stary opening it up and all they get from you is: I want more, I want more, I want more.

It's not all about you."

Hey, JD is just responding to the dribs and drabs of info from NASCAR and Vegas that have, from the outset, been making tangental references to a "fan friendly" awards event.

If the awards fest were, as you claim, truly "just for the drivers", how do you explain closing the streets of Manhattan in December so the top ten teams can drive across midtown? Or the flooding of morning news shows with appearances from the top 10 drivers? If your theory were true, why go to Vegas at all? Why not stay in NYC?
If you think that drivers and teams would prefer to go to Vegas over NYC, you are dead wrong.

JD is right on this one. Something is not kosher here. My educated guess, is that the clash of TITAN EGOS at NASCAR and the Vegas Convention Bureau.....I guarantee that this event will not be back in Vegas in 2010

Daly Planet Editor said...

That's the only reason we are asking. This topic is Champions Week, not the banquet itself. Those are two different things.

NASCAR originally said this was going to be a week for the fans after a very long season.

Las Vegas opens up all kinds of possible events and fun things for fans to do.

What I find interesting is that this issue is nowhere in the mainstream media.

Maybe I just did not get the memo to avoid the topic.


MRM4 said...

I have been a NASCAR fan since 1975, so it's easy for me to say I'm a fan. Frankly, it doesn't concern me if there is or isn't TV coverage all week of Championship Week. I'm over it by then. The current season is a bit too long as it is. I'm not going to invest any time on watching more interviews of drivers and team owners like we see every week on Trackside or other programs through the season. If someone else wants to see those things, that's their choice and maybe they'd be concerned about lack of programming.

I do agree that no advertising of the events in Vegas is a bit puzzling. You'd think they would play this up as much as they can. It's not the first mistake NASCAR has made and won't be the last.

glenc1 said...

I think Richard has a good point...and they were like that with safety for a long time ('we prefer to let our partners develop the technology blah blah...'). It's always bothered me, but in this case, it does seem like it's not very well planned. Or they're not letting us in on the plans. Or they're just making it up as they go along. Personally, I couldn't care less--but for some, it might be something worth doing, especially since it's a destination city with other stuff to do. I'm sure there are places in Vegas which can accomodate large numbers IF they wanted to include the fans. Perhaps they're moving slowly for this year, and waiting to see what kind of interest there is. And since they seem to have nothing but Jimmie's fourth to talk about, why not start hyping the banquet?

GinaV24 said...

When they first said they would have Champions week in Vegas, I thought, gee that might be fun to do and take a vacation. Of course, with it being all Johnson all the time, I've lost a lot of interest in it. However, for those folks who are fans of his, information would be helpful so they know whether or not they want to make plans to go out and participate in whatever "fan events" that are being offered. I know that I plan my vacations in advance and probably other folks do as well. If LV and NASCAR were really interested in getting the fans involved, they've missed their window of opportunity I would say.

I have to say that like some other folks have said, I'm pretty much "done" with it all by now. I've always watched the banquet, at least I did until ESPN dumped it onto classic (which I didn't have)but now, it's all the same old, same old so I'm not sure I will watch this year even though I now have the channel.

Donna DeBoer said...

Vegas is in a bad place right now, economically speaking so I'm very puzzled why more isn't being made of this by Las Vegas itself.
Its nice they want to include fans, but I still consider this to primarily be for teams. And I agree, except for Kurt Busch I think they'd rather have stayed in NYC. I've been to NYC a couple times during Champ Week and enjoyed the few NASCAR bits I saw, but I went because I wanted to do some holiday shopping as well. I can't justify a trip to Vegas just for NASCAR. Wait, maybe I'll get married again, yeah that would work. :)

Anonymous said...

I see on your Friday listing that "Jimmy" Roberts has replaced "John" Roberts as host of NASCAR Live. When did Jimmy move to SPEED from ESPN?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:27AM,

If you ever catch a typo on the site, just drop me an email at anytime.


After watching for ten months, I was kind of thinking outside of the box for Champions Week.

If the Fox Hollywood Hotel, the ESPN Infield Pit Center and the TNT infield stage were all parked together, fans could stop by and take pics of themselves on those sets.

Add the other props that the TV companies use, thrown in some NASCAR TV announcers and you would have a nice little media opportunity to stream online or add to the NASCAR galleries of fans and networks.

I just hate when the season ends with a thud and then we have the awkward and sometimes embarrassing TV presentations of the banquets.

It's 2009, time for a change IMHO.


Ken said...

It has been said many times that Champions week and the banquet is for the drivers and their teams. It must be so because the current plan appears to be geared that way because the fans are not invited. The drivers and teams will not have to mix with a lot of fans and pretend to enjoy it. They can have a nice quiet vacation in Vegas and mix with their own.

I personally have no interest in Champions Week and have lost most of my interest in following the Chase. The records since the introduction of the Chase should be separated from the "modern" era. The post-modern era has nothing to do with the modern era due not just the Chase but the other rule changes such as the "lucky dog", double file restarts, fake cautions and many other changes that benefit drivers where the modern era drivers had to earn their high finishes.

Anonymous said...

Will do JD. Sorry, just struck me funny on the typo.

Vicky D said...

We might have to depend on Dot to cover this for TDP and ESPN. Sounds expensive to me too.

John C. Holmes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Where are the fans in these plans? Only a handful would be allowed into the banquet, only 300 into this 'roast' ($250 is a lot to ask for considering travel expense, hotel expense, food expense). If I were to spend the money to fly across the country and book a hotel to celebrate my favorite sport, what would I be guaranteed to see? So far...nothing.

darbar said...

To those who've said the banquet is for the drivers and teams, then why not just have it at the convention center in Charlotte or at some nice hotel there? I mean, after all, that's where most of the teams reside, so they can just have their silly banquet, get their checks, make their "commercial endorsment" speeches and go off for their two month vacation. It's silly for them to trek over to LV for just a team event. And it's not like these guys are hurting for a vacation to LV. I think they can afford to go there on their own if that's the kind of vacay they want.

Anonymous said...

To those who've said the banquet is for the drivers and teams, then why not just have it at the convention center in Charlotte or at some nice hotel there? I mean, after all, that's where most of the teams reside, so they can just have their silly banquet, get their checks, make their "commercial endorsment" speeches and go off for their two month vacation. It's silly for them to trek over to LV for just a team event. And it's not like these guys are hurting for a vacation to LV. I think they can afford to go there on their own if that's the kind of vacay they want.

Because it's not just drivers, it's teams, sponsors, executives, and participant families. It's an event for all of them, and Charlotte is hardly special, since they are there all the time.

darbar said...

I did say it was for the teams not just the drivers. But if you read anything about the banquet, most of the participants don't care for it. They don't like dressing up, they don't especially care for the brohaha. And, if you know how the banquet goes, the ONLY full team that goes is the champion's team, not every single member of every single Chase team. So your argument is moot on that point. You also don't see families or anything like that. So, if this were just held in Charlotte,as you said a not so special city for them or whatever, at least every team could participate in some way, be it tours of their shops or whatever. But as it has been for a long time, the only full team there is the champion team, not the teams of any other driver.

Dot said...

@ VickyD,
I was excited to get the details about the Neon Garage gig. Until I read the $250 part. I'll gladly accept donations to attend and report accordingly.

Anonymous said...
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Vicky D said...

Think we'll have to pass the hat for donations for Dot to attend the Neon Garage Gig. I still think there won't be much for fans to do/see that week. It'll be all about whoever wins the championship and Hendrick. I think I read in one of the columns they'll only allow the top 10 in points to drive down the strip too. And they want the fans to participate?