While the action has been intense on the track all season long with ‘boys have at it’, double-file restarts and the most intense battle for the Chase still to be played out, NASCAR fans will soon have the opportunity during Champion’s week to ‘have at it’ themselves with their favorite drivers , unfiltered, in Las Vegas.
[media-credit name=”Photo Credit: nascar.com” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]NASCAR’s wildly successful ‘After the Lap’ event will be repeated for the third year at the Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Vegas. Tickets for the December 1st opportunity to ‘have at it’ with the champ and Chase contenders are officially now on sale by visiting www.nascarafterthelap.com.
“It’s one of our favorite events,” Norris Scott, Vice President of Partnership Marketing and Business Solutions for NASCAR said. “It’s 3,000 fans packed into the Hard Rock getting an hour or even more of unfiltered access to the drivers.”
“At this point, they have their helmets off, the champion has been decided and it’s a lot of fun,” Scott continued. “There’s a large Q&A session with the fans and Jamie Little hosts it to keep it all going.”
“What I like about it most is the drivers are just having fun up on stage with the fans and with each other,” Norris said. “We’re glad to be continuing this.”
Last year’s event definitely lived up to the ‘unfiltered’ status that Scott described. But, according to Scott, that is exactly what makes the event so special and unique.
“There were some really funny moments,” Scott said. “One of the questions to Tony Stewart was ‘If you were on a reality show, which one would you want to be on.’ He went through all of the reasons he wouldn’t want to be on one but then ended up saying it would be ‘The Bachelor,’ much to the delight of the fans.”
“Clint Bowyer was talking about the green room and about how all the guys were changing into more comfortable clothes and he was busting Kyle Busch for wearing green underwear, asking him what that was all about.”
“Unfiltered is the best way to describe it,” Scott said. “They’re just so good and so comfortable up there and the fans love it.”
Do Scott and the NASCAR leadership ever worry that the fans may cross the line or get out of hand a bit with their questions?
“They’re respectful but I’m not going to lie to you,” Scott said candidly. “There were a few moments last year where we wondered where this was going to go. But Jamie Little is a great host and keeps it in line.”
Last year, one of the Vegas headliners, Carrot Top, made a special appearance, adding another unique element to the event. This year will be no different with Bill Engvall, best known from The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, making his own cameo appearance.
“He is pretty funny and he will spice it up a little bit,” Scott said. “When I tell people about the event, I really have a tough time finding another sports league as a comparable event to this.”
“ There’s no doubt that others have a Q&A for fans but I can’t think of another event where the top 12, including the champion of the sport, are in a venue allowing fans to ask these raw questions to them and them answering them on the spot,” Scott continued. “It’s really unique and special for us.”
Another unique aspect to this year’s event will be that all proceeds, $20 per ticket, will benefit the NASCAR Foundation, particularly programs helping children.
“That’s a new element this year,” Scott said. “In prior years, it’s been free but this year all the event proceeds will go to the NASCAR Foundation. The Foundation has a new focus on kids and children’s initiatives so the money will go through that.”
The ‘After the Lap’ event, while special and unique, is just one of the many events planned for Champion’s Week.
“Prior to the NASCAR ‘After the Lap’ event, the drivers are doing their drive around on the Strip, doing burnouts and then they pull into the Hard Rock,” Scott said. “There is the Coca Cola Fan Zone and the drivers sign autographs. That builds on the excitement before the drivers get into the Hard Rock.”
“Sprint will also have their Sprint Experience there,” Scott continued. “They are bringing a smaller version of what they bring to the track each week outside the Hard Rock.”
One of the sport’s other major partners, Ford, will be further sweetening the fans ‘have at it’ experience with their unique ‘Send Me to Vegas Sweepstakes.”
“One of the unique things about Ford is not only is there the ‘Send me to Vegas Sweepstakes’ where fans can not only go to ‘After the Lap’ but also a chance to win a 2012 Ford Explorer,” Scott said. “Ford is bringing a lot to the table in terms of supporting the event as well as making it pretty memorable for one lucky fan.”
Scott affirmed that Las Vegas is the perfect place to hold all of the Championship events, from the banquet to the burnouts on the Strip to the Hard Rock event. Last year, close to 20,000 fans lined the streets and the ‘After the Lap’ event was sold out with 3,000 fans in attendance, as it is expected to be again this year.
“Las Vegas has been a great city to work with,” Scott said. “Vegas is very quickly become a packed week in terms of events for the fans.”
“Being on the Strip, with the lights and the casinos, it is pretty awesome.”