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September 22, 2014

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Photos: NASCAR renews for three years of Champion’s Week in Las Vegas; a second race at LVMS?

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson attends Fan Fest at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, for 2013 NASCAR Champion’s Week.

2013 NASCAR Champion’s Week: Fan Fest at FSE

Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. attend Fan Fest at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, for 2013 NASCAR Champion's Week. Launch slideshow »

Top NASCAR officials confirmed Wednesday night that they’ve signed a new three-year pact with Las Vegas officials to extend the annual, end-of-year Champion’s Week events through 2017, and that’s renewing rumors that our Las Vegas Motor Speedway might get a second Sprint Cup race.

Champion’s Week is currently in its fifth year of two three-year contracts. That would have expired in December 2014, but the new extended deal will now cover 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“All of the drivers, the sponsors and our partners love coming to Las Vegas each year,” NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton told me. “The new three-year deal is signed, and, who knows, we may be coming back forever.”

Drivers including Carl Edwards, brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch and Joey Logano joined me for the NASCAR Radio broadcast at Sprint’s welcome at Tryst in Wynn on Wednesday night. The black-tie awards dinner at the Wynn with the crowning of six-time champion Jimmie Johnson will be televised live on Fox Sports on Friday night.

Today, starting from Planet Hollywood at 3 p.m., is the Victory Lap along the Strip for the 12 leading racers. I’ll be onstage there to MC the driver introductions, and then they’ll roar off for burnouts at the Palazzo, Wynn, Treasure Island and Fashion Show intersection (Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road) and loop back to a pit-stop tire change outside Bellagio Fountains.

Afterward, they head off to Pearl at the Palms for the no-hold’s-barred “After the Lap” Q+A with fans. On Wednesday, the star racecar drivers attended the free Fan Fest downtown on Fremont Street Experience, and contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was in the thick of the frenzy.

“It’s great to know NASCAR can call Las Vegas home for a third three-year contract,” another executive told me at the Tryst reception. “The pressure is really on now to push for that long-awaited second championship race in Las Vegas.”

The next NASCAR race weekend at LVMS is set for March 7-9.

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 Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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