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April 24, 2014

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2012 NASCAR Champion’s Week kicks off today with Fan Fest at Fremont Street Experience

Image

The Associated Press

Brad Keselowski, center, holds up his trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Homestead, Fla. Keselowski clinched the title after fellow contender Jimmie Johnson pulled out of the season finale because of a parts failure. Jeff Gordon won the race.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. walks the red carpet at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Awards at the Wynn on Dec. 2, 2011. Launch slideshow »

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The 2011 NASCAR Week Victory Lap on the Strip and a fire on Nov. 1, 2011. Launch slideshow »

NASCAR fans from all over the country will pack downtown Fremont Street today with all Top 12 racecar drivers together for the first time at the Fan Fest celebrating Brad Keselowski’s 2012 victory.

Zany comedian Carrot Top, who is celebrating his seventh anniversary headlining at the Luxor, returns from TV and film shoots on the East Coast to host a NASCAR version of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” with the 12 star drivers.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is presenting the Fan Fest at FSE, and LVMS President Chris Powell said: “Each year, the Fan Fest has been one of the best events of Champion’s Week. It not only gives fans a chance to get close to the 12 top drivers, but also it allows them to see the stars without fire sits and helmets.”

Carrot Top said: “I’m great friends with many of the drivers, so I hope they understand when I don’t go easy on them.”

The fifth-graders doing battle with the high-speed track terrors are from Lomie Heard Elementary School on Nellis Air Force Base. Fan Fest starts at 2 p.m., and before going on the 3rd Street Stage, the 12 racecar stars will walk a red carpet through the crowd.

On Thursday, the awards luncheon at the Wynn will be followed by the NASCAR Victory Lap down the Strip starting from Planet Hollywood at 3 p.m. It’s followed by the After the Lap Q+A with the drivers, also at Planet Hollywood.

After the Lap is where the drivers are sometimes asked the most embarrassing questions with amazing revelations. Last year, we all watched in amazement as Jeff Gordon demonstrated his breakdancing skills spinning on his head without a helmet.

After After the Lap, 2011 Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Matt Yocum host the sixth annual Stewie Awards, which airs live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90. I’ve pre-recorded all the voiceover show openings and award introductions.

The public is welcome to attend the three-hour broadcast from Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile. Awards include Best Original Drama, Bonehead Move of the Year, Best Vocal Performance and Best Original Comedy. Check out SiriusXM.com/stewieawards for audio clips of the nominated drivers.

On Friday, the live black-tie telecast of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards on Speed TV takes place at the Wynn with host Howie Mandel and performances by Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield and “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips. Brad placed 1st in the official driver standings, Clint Bowyer was 2nd, Jimmie Johnson 3rd, our hometown driver Kyle Busch 13th in the pack of 80 drivers, brother Kurt Busch 25th and Danica Patrick 62nd.

“Las Vegas is a special place to be,” Brad 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.” Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue will be on duty throughout Champion’s Week, and we’ll post his photo galleries right here at Vegas DeLuxe.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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