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NASCAR After The Lap in Vegas to include all 16 Chase contenders

 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson enters during NASCAR After The Lap at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Hotel on December 5, 2013 in Las Vegas.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson enters during NASCAR After The Lap at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Hotel on December 5, 2013 in Las Vegas.Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

NASCAR announced Saturday that NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford, Coca-Cola, and Sprint will return to Las Vegas during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week. This year’s show returns to the Pearl Palms Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Hotel on Dec. 4 with the 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders in attendance, according to a press release.

ESPN’s Marty Smith will return as the show’s host, one of several fan events planned for Champion’s Week. The show is popular with fans who have an opportunity to see the drivers answer question in a relaxed setting after the stressful season is finished.

“For the sixth consecutive season, Coca-Cola is proud to partner with NASCAR on this annual celebration of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season,” said Ben Reiling, director of motorsports for Coca-Cola North America Group. “The new Chase format promises to deliver an exhilarating finish to the season and we anticipate the momentum will carry over to this year’s show, producing even more unforgettable moments for our drivers and fans.”

Champion’s Week begins Dec. 2 with several fan events planned. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, the highlight of the week, will be held Dec. 5 at Wynn Las Vegas. This will be the sixth year NASCAR has held Champion's Week in Las Vegas after moving the event from New York City.

Only three races remain for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to punch their tickets to the post-season championship chase. Sixteen drivers have the opportunity to qualify with a win or, if less than that number have a win in the first 26 races, the drivers who are highest in points without a win will fill out the field.

The format to crown the NASCAR champion has been revised for this season and the last 10 races will feature the 16 drivers in an elimination format as they race against the remainer of the 43-car field in the final 10 races.

The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night.