Posted: 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
By Jeff Gluck
The racing community gathered in Sin City to toast NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski and celebrate the Chase drivers' successful 2012 seasons.
One of the best opportunities all year for fans to get closer to their favorite drivers is NASCAR Champion's Week in Las Vegas.
Whether it's drivers interacting with fans at one of several events or happening to catch your favorite racer as he's walking through a casino, the drivers seem to be more accessible in Vegas than any other time during the season – even more than at the racetrack.
Here are the fan events for this week in Las Vegas (all times are local) if you'll be in the area:
4 p.m. – "NASCAR Live"
What: MRN's Eli Gold will host a special edition of the one-hour "NASCAR Live" show with champion Brad Keselowski as his guest. They will take calls and answer live questions from the audience.
Where: Wynn Sports Book
2 p.m. – Fanfest
What: A red carpet walk through fans (a prime opportunity for autographs) followed by a game show with all 12 Chase drivers, hosted by Carrot Top.
Where: Fremont Street
3:30 p.m. – NASCAR Victory Lap
What: The Chase drivers will parade in their cars down the Las Vegas Strip as thousands of people line the street to watch. They'll also do two burnouts and a live pit stop at different locations during the lap.
Where: The route starts at Planet Hollywood, goes north to the Wynn (one of the burnout spots), then drivers turn around and come back to Planet Hollywood.
5 p.m. – NASCAR After the Lap
What: Perhaps the most fun 90 minutes of the NASCAR season, the Chase drivers tell stories and tease each other on stage in front of an enthusiastic audience. This is where Jeff Gordon did his break-dancing demonstration last year.
Where: PH Live, a venue in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
Admission: $20 (the event sold out last year)
7 p.m. – The Stewies
What: Tony Stewart hosts his annual Sirius/XM Radio awards show with Matt Yocum and special guests.
Where: Cabo Wabo Cantina, Miracle Mile Shops at the Planet Hollywood Casino
There are also several events that are not open to the public, but you might be able to grab an autograph if you catch a driver walking through the casino at the right time.
For example: The NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards lunch is in the Encore on Thursday; the main banquet itself is Friday at the Wynn (red carpet arrivals begin at 4 p.m.).