Friday, November 30, 2012

NASCAR to celebrate Vegas-style at Sprint Cup Series Awards ceremony

2011 Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart speaks at last year's awards ceremony
at the Wynn Las Vegas. Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Glitz. Glamour. Black tie.

After 10 months of racing, it’s time to celebrate – Vegas style.

Instead of firesuits, NASCAR’s top drivers will break out their tuxes and suits for tonight’s annual Sprint Cup Series Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on SPEED.

It’s a rare chance to see the drivers, their wives or girlfriends and others in the industry dressed to the nines.

The Wynn Las Vegas, which has hosted the banquet since 2009, offers a luxurious setting and party atmosphere to honor first-time Cup champion Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing team owner Roger Penske, also winning his first Cup title in a motorsports career spanning decades. The remaining top 10 drivers in the final standings will also be lauded. As is tradition, each will give a speech onstage, which promises to provide a mix of emotional and comical moments.

The awards ceremony also wields its share of star power. This year’s host is “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel, who follows recent hosts Reba McEntire, Frank Caliendo and Jay Mohr. The show also features a strong entertainment lineup: Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and entertainers from The Beatles LOVE.

The awards ceremony tops off Champion’s Week, a weeklong slate of activities where the Chase drivers and fans celebrate the season that was. Events included the fourth annual Fanfest, which featured the drivers playing “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?”; the Myers Brothers Awards, including the fan-voted Most Popular Driver award; the NASCAR Victory Lap down the Las Vegas Strip, a new fan favorite; and After the Lap, where the drivers open up with often hilarious results.

The Sprint Cup Series Awards ceremony reruns at midnight ET on SPEED, immediately following the initial broadcast.

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