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NASCAR’s newest king arrives in Vegas

2012 NASCAR Champion Brad Keselowski arrives in Las Vegas
2012 NASCAR Champion Brad Keselowski arrives in Las Vegas
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski has had very little time to relax since the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks ago. From appearances on national TV to countless meetings with the media, Keselowski has had very little time simply relax; and that’s just fine by him.

The 28-year-old Michigan native was one very few people’s list of contenders when the 2012 season began. But Keselowski showed he had what it takes to become NASCAR’s best, beating five time champion Jimmie Johnson to win his first title. The price for his crown comes after the season when the champion’s media tour begins. After a week in New York City, the final round begins this week when the champion hits Las Vegas along with the rest of the series to celebrate the season past, and the new champion.

Keselowski arrived in Vegas on Tuesday to began a week of stops that will culminate in the season ending banquet Friday night. If he was worn down, NASCAR’s youngest champion since Jeff Gordon wasn’t showing it arriving at his first media event raring to go.

“You have questions; I have answers,” Keselowski said with a smile. Later the subject matter turned to tanks. Keselowski, whose foundation serves military personnel and veterans, agreed a tank would make a nice addition to his collection of vehicles.

“I don’t want to do what everyone else does; I want to be different,” he said. “It will look good parked in my driveway behind my gate.”

Turning serious Keselowski spoke highly of the next generation stock car he and his NASCAR Sprint Cup rivals will drive in 2013 calling it a “game changer for the sport.” He added, “It has way more growth potential than the current model.”

Keselowski and Wolfe surveyed the Wynn’s spacious hall where workers are readying the banquet room and red carpet area. He playfully picked up Clint Bowyer’s banner and placed it behind his own – just to be sure everyone knew who finished first.

Keselowski was happy to be back in Las Vegas – the 32nd-place finish in March’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway all but forgotten.

“Vegas is a special place to be,” he said. “It is a win-win situation for NASCAR and the fans. We love coming out here. It is a great week to be a race fan in Las Vegas.”

Here are upcoming Champion’s Week events at a glance:

Wednesday, Nov. 28

• NASCAR 2012 Motorsports Marketing Forum continues: The 13th annual NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, is the motorsports industry’s most comprehensive business forum. Held at Aria Resort & Casino, the Forum will feature an array of insight and perspective from sports and marketing executives both within and outside the motorsports industry. Keselowski will be in attendance for the champion’s “fireside chat.” For more information, visit www.motorsportsmarketingforum.com.

Wednesday – Saturday, Nov. 28-Dec. 1

• NASCAR Pit Stop Tour: The Pit Stop Tour consists of Official Partner show cars featured in iconic locations throughout the Las Vegas strip from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. PT each day. Fans can get up close and personal with the cars at the following locations: Welcome to Las Vegas sign on Las Vegas Blvd. (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Car); Coca-Cola Store (Coca-Cola); New York, New York (Chevrolet); Bally’s (Ford); and Fashion Show (Toyota).

Wednesday, Nov. 28

• Fanfest Presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway: The fourth annual Fanfest event will be held on Fremont Street, and begin at 2 p.m. PT, with the arrival of the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. The event will consist of a red carpet walk by the 12 drivers followed by a special “game show format” on-stage event featuring the drivers and hosted by nationally known comedian Carrot Top. Race fans will have the chance to win two tickets to the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards to be held two nights later at Wynn Las Vegas. Highlights from the event can be viewed on NASCAR.COM Wednesday evening.

• Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Reception: This year’s finalists for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be honored at a reception at Wynn Las Vegas from 6-7 p.m. PT Following, The NASCAR Foundation will announce the Award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, Nov. 30. Fans can cast their vote to determine the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting NASCAR.COM/award before 11:59 p.m. ET November 29.

Day One: Keselowski Arrives In Las Vegas For Champion’s Week

Thursday, Nov. 29

• Chevrolet SS Race Car Unveiled at Wynn Las Vegas: A press conference will be held, at 9:30 a.m. PT, at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas, to unveil the 2013 Chevrolet SS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car. Media attendance is encouraged; however, this event is not open to the public. The event will be streamed live on NASCAR.COM.

• NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will be held from 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. PT, in the Encore Ballroom at Encore Las Vegas, where several team awards will be presented. Among those awards included are the Champion Sponsor, Champion Crew Chief, Sunoco Rookie of the Year and NMPA Most Popular Driver awards. The event will be streamed live on NASCAR.COM.

• NASCAR Victory Lap: The green flag on fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap will wave at 3:30 p.m. PT, with pre-lap festivities to begin at 3 p.m. PT, when the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will parade down Las Vegas Blvd. in their race cars with engines roaring. NASCAR Victory Lap will start and finish on Las Vegas Blvd., in front of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and will once again provide fans with a unique experience to feel the excitement of a NASCAR start line, feature an authentic pit stop (performed by members of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program presented by Sprint) and two burn-out sections for drivers — with viewing areas along the route. The event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90 and streamed live on NASCAR.COM.

• NASCAR After The Lap Sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola: One of the premier events of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, NASCAR After the Lap Sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. PT, at PH LIVE located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Fans can purchase tickets at www.NASCARafterthelap.com for $20 each (all proceeds benefit The NASCAR Foundation) to attend the unpredictable, unforgettable driver tell-all event featuring the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. The event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90 and live streamed on NASCAR.COM.

• The Stewie Awards: Following NASCAR After The Lap, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and Matt Yocum will host the sixth annual “Stewie Awards,” a lighthearted year-in-review, which airs live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.

Friday, Nov. 30

• 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: The postseason, black tie event will begin at 5 p.m. PT at Wynn Las Vegas, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion driver and owner will be crowned and the top 10 drivers in the final standings will be honored. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, the culmination of Champion’s Week, will feature red carpet arrivals, celebrity guests, music and entertainment. Hosted by “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel, the show will feature performances by Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and entertainers from The Beatles LOVE. SPEED, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide live coverage of the event. Prior to the awards, NASCAR.COM will live stream a Miss Sprint Cup chat with Brad Keselowski.

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