Champions Week continues to build to its ultimate crescendo – the NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet. Track operators have arrived in town and joined the celebration, as well as, taking care of some business items.
NASCAR champions Jason Bowles (Camping World Series West), George Brunnhoelzl III (Whelen Southern Modified Tour), Donny Lia (Whelen Modified Tour), Philip Morris (Whelen All-American Series), Andrew Ranger (Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1) and Ryan Truex (Camping World Series East) are on hand to celebrate their achievements and participate in the Champions Week activities.
While each of the title winners took a few moments off from their busy schedules on Thursday morning, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track operators held a business meeting in which the 2010 program was outlined.
“We really enjoy coming to these banquets, with NASCAR and Whelen,” said Gray Garrison of Bowman Gray Stadium, located in Winston-Salem, N.C. “You could not ask for a better sponsor that Whelen is for the weekly series. An engineering company like that is just great and fits a good niche for us. We enjoy coming to these types of things. We learn a lot.”
After lunch, the champions continued to accommodate the many media requests for the week. Bowles, Brunnhoelzl, Lia, Morris and Ranger each taped segments for The Hub on SPEED. Lia and Ranger then made their way to ESPN’s studios for an appearance on NASCAR Now. Bowles visited with ESPN on Wednesday.
The track operators and other guest were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the race shop at Penske Racing in the afternoon. The state-of-the-art facility situated on 105 acres in Mooresville, N.C., is the home of NASCAR drivers Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier. They will be joined next season by Brad Keselowski. All of the guests got an up-close look at the inner workings of the world-class shop owned by the legendary Roger Penske.
“It’s a lot of fun to come back here and see everything that’s going on. We are looking forward to visiting some of the race shops,” said Bob DeFazio of Toyota Speedway of Irwindale (Calif.).
To close out Thursday’s activities, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state and provincial champions gathered at the Hendrick Motorsports Museum in Charlotte, N.C., for a special dinner commemorating each of their championship-winning seasons. Meanwhile, the touring series champions and track operators went on a dinner cruise at Queens Landing on Lake Norman.
Wednesday concluded with a reception for the champions and track operators at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord. On display were all six of the champions’ cars along with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series trucks from each of the manufacturers. All of the attendees were treated to a look at the new NASCAR Nationwide Series cars to be introduced next season.
“That’s was exciting to see some of what they are doing out here in research and development and to have NASCAR let us know that any time we need their help, they’re willing to answer any of our questions. Being a new track, that’s really a great asset for us,” said Carol Noceti of The New Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway.
The week culminates with the two award ceremonies. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet will take place Friday evening at the Concord Convention Center with track and state champions being honored along with Morris, the national champion. The NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala, which will honor the championship seasons of Bowles, Brunnhoelzl, Lia, Ranger and Truex, will be held at the same venue on Saturday evening. Both banquets will be streamed live online at www.nascarhometracks.com.