Header image

I was REALLY excited to go to Champions Week in Vegas…I got to see Misty AND celebrate Tony’s AWESOME Sprint Cup Victory…what could be better? Not a lot I don’t think- BEST FRIEND TIME Rocks and so does Tony Stewart being the 2011 Sprint Cup Champion.

Champions Week festivities started with Fan Fest for me.  This year- instead of being at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway- Fan fest was at the Fremont Street Experience.  Honestly, this kind of bummed me out for a couple of reasons.  There is something I love about being at LVMS for fan fest because the stands are completely empty- so it’s kind of a cool perspective to get of the track.  Another reason is that the track is right by Nellis Air Force Base, so while you are standing there along the red carpet you can watch the air force jets overhead- that is always fun and I enjoyed it in years past.  This year it was more about watching the street performers walk around…there was a foul-mouthed Spongebob Squarepants, a bumblebee Transformer and a show girl that I saw.  I think they did it so they could make the red carpet longer- which it was. But the problem with how it was set up with the stage was that you pretty much had to choose do you want to stand on the red carpet or by the stage where they were doing the Teammates version of the NewlyWed game.  We chose red carpet with the hopes that after the red carpet we would be able to find a place to stand by the stage to watch the game show portion. Well that didn’t happen. It was far too crowded at the stage end to even see anything (especially for me- miss shorty).  They also decided to unleash all 12 drivers on the redcarpet at once instead of letting them walk the carpet one at a time.  This made taking pictures kind of hard but I tried my best for you all (also the shooting conditions were less than prime because Fremont Street because it was already overcast and then on top of that Fremont Street is covered over so be kind about the picture quality):

Kevin Harvick's Car was one of several on display down at the Fremont Street Experience where Fan Fest was held this year. (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

One of my favorite pictures from the red carpet this year I call it FIND A DRIVER...see what I mean about how the drivers where all just kind of unleashed onto the red carpet at the same time? (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

Ryan Newman (foreground) and Kyle Busch (background) walking the red carpet at Fan Fest (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

Dale Earnhardt Jr walks the red carpet at Fan Fest. (Photo Credit: photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

Champion (that NEVER gets old) Tony Stewart (left) and Kurt Busch (right). Right after this a television cameraman stood in front of me and totally blocked me. It would be the first of two TV cameramen who spoil my shots! (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

So after the drivers passed by our spot on the carpet we tried to move up towards the stage so we could watch the gameshow- but that didn’t happen there were too many people squished down at that end. So that ended festivities for the day for us.

Another reason I was hoping Fan Fest would be held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is Misty has a giftcard for a ride-a-long there that she got for her birthday from someone (ME) and I was hoping to get to witness her ride-a-long. Maybe in March.

On Thursday it was the burnouts and NASCAR After The Lap.  It was also threatening to rain all day (and had most of the night before).  I was worried that we would be all bundled up in OUR SPOT that we scope out every year and that it would start pouring and they would cancel The Victory Lap and Misty and I (and her brother Ben) would be standing there in the rain for no reason. Luckily the rain held out for the most part (there were a couple sprinkles here and there).  Here are some burnout pictures:

A Champion Burn Out -Tony Stewart! (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

I love this picture because I love that you can see people cheering Champ Tony Stewart's Burn Out in the background. (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

A bittersweet burnout for former champ Jimmie Johnson. (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

Jeff Gordon roasts his tires on the Las Vegas Strip. (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

My second camera man run in was during the burn outs after half way through he pushed his way in next to me causing me to have to shift over…between him and the guy behind me with the penchant for sticking his damn lens hood in the back of my head…I didn’t get any pictures of Ryan Newman’s burn out…which was cool cuz he BROKE HIS CAR! (Including leaving steaming fluid and parts in the road…it would have made a great picture!) After watching the burn outs the race was on for us to make it to NASCAR After The Lap- held at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.  It was quite the dash but thanks to my driving skills and much more to Misty’s locals knowledge of the streets we slid into the parking garage and dashed to the The Joint. We Misty and I got separated and I ended up being ushered outside and then back inside through a side door but we found each other before we were even seated.  And let me tell you fighting for my original seats was the best thing I could have ever done because my seats? Were totally awesome and just happened to be on Tony’s side of the stage so even better!  Unfortunately I couldn’t bring my DSLR in- but I had my point and shoot canon (it travels with me everywhere in my purse) at the ready! Because I was using my point and shoot though the pics aren’t the best:

Jimmie, Jeff, Junior, Keselowski and Harvick at NASCAR After The Lap (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

Champ Tony Stewart and hostess Jamie Litte (photo credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

There were some great moments- during After The Lap this year- like when we found out that Brad Keselowski peed in the passenger side of his car during the Victory Lap on the strip (and Jr. thought he was leaned over hot wiring the car). The best thing however was Jeff Gordon getting talked into giving the audience a sample of his mad break dancing skills.  That was fully. What was even funnier was Jimmie Johnson asking him if he still had a job as he was one of the main instigators of getting Jeff to break dance.  I took a very shaky and crappy video of him breakdancing…but this one by Jeff Gluck is much better.

After the AFTER THE LAP were the Stewie Awards…but this year they held them in a bar- and we had someone in our party who was underage- not to mention that by the time we filed out of the Joint (Seats up front were great for the show but BAD for getting out quickly) the bar was pretty filled up anyway. So we left without seeing the Stewies.

Friday was a pretty laid back day…and I decided that I wanted to get a picture of Tony’s car that was stationed at the WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS sign…which I did:

Tony's Mobil 1 car stationed at the Welcome To Las Vegas Sign...but not. It was at the far end of the parking lot and nowhere near the sign. I was sad...but it didn't stop me from snapping a picture (ok three). (Photo Credit: Amy Marbach- That's Me)

I did a lot more stuff in Vegas because I was with Misty- but they had nothing to do with Champions week so I will spare you all that!

Here is a link to my Flickr album of all my pictures from Champions Week (this is only a small smattering of pictures).

This will be my third year going to the NASCAR Champions Week celebration in Las Vegas and honestly it’s something that I look forward to attending starting months and months in advance.  I LOVE going to these events because they are usually very fan friendly, fun, plus it’s really great to see the the top 12 drivers in a relaxed situation away from the stress and competition of the race season! I have written about my experiences here each time.  I wrote about the first year here and here. And about last year’s events here and here (and Misty wrote about fanfest).  See- always glowing reviews- and we ALWAYS have fun. If you can manage to get to Vegas for the Champions Week celebration I highly highly suggest that you do it!

One of my favorite events is the NASCAR After The Lap event because it is so much fun to see the drivers really just be themselves.  Last year’s was particularly enjoyable and I learned that Clint Bowyer was a total cut up. Plus seeing and hearing Tony Stewart talk is always FUN.  So this year Misty forwarded me the email she got (because she ordered our tickets last year) with the pre-sale information on them. I bought our AFTER THE LAP tickets this year because she purchased them last year…that’s just how we roll (plus proceeds to the ticket sales go to THE NASCAR FOUNDATION so it’s win-win).  I was quite pleased because of our pre-sale status we got some REALLY close seats (our original seats were: GOLD 2, row DD, seats 13-14) Awesomely close…as in fourth row. Which rocks because last year? We had second to last row.  So awesome for us right?

Yesterday, out of the blue Ticketmaster emails me and says that those totally awesome seats? Were sold in error and that they have assigned us new seats in section 102 row C seats 5 and 6. The email they sent CLEARLY stated that if I wanted to retain these new seats I had until October 28th to reply to the email with my order number and that if I did NOT reply they would cancel my order- no harm no foul.  While I was NOT pleased at all that my uber close, 4th row awesome seats were now relocated to a much further back row I did still want to attend the event so what was I gonna do?  I emailed back with my original order number as specified in my email.  This morning when I checked my email I had a lovely email stating that my ticket order HAD BEEN CANCELLED! CANCELLED! This is definitely PANIC AT THE DISCO time.  I fired back an email stating that I replied per their instructions (and I reread their instructions three times to make sure I didn’t misread) to RETAIN my tickets not to CANCEL them!  Then I decided to call them to reiterate that I wanted my tickets.  They were closed of course. So I waited until 9:00 when they opened and called back again.  The representative who helped me (JAY) was nice and looked up my order number and told me that it indeed was cancelled.  AND not only that but the seats they reassigned me? Sold already. JAY the ticket master rep who helped me found me some equivalent seats (now we are sitting in section 101 Row C seats 5 & 6 but told me that the event is selling out fairly quickly.

So get your tickets for NASCAR AFTER THE LAP ASAP if you want to go- JAY told me they were already starting to run low on seats. And hopefully Ticketmaster won’t screw up your seats like they screwed up ours (TWICE).  See you there…and now you know exactly where we will be sitting so swing by and say HEY (that is of course unless our tickets get moved AGAIN).

Oh and in my rant I nearly forgot to tell you if you visit NASCAR AFTER THE LAP right now you can enter to WIN a trip to Vegas- including two VIP tickets to AFTER THE LAP (probably in my original seats..just kidding, kinda) AND a brand new Ford Explorer.

One of my favorite pictures from last year’s Stewie Awards during the Champions Week…just for fun:

Tony Stewart smiles at the 2010 Stewie Awards in Las Vegas, NV

Probably the best picture of Tony Stewart I have managed to take...because most of them manage to blur because I get nervous and move the camera. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

UPDATE: I am starting to think that TICKETMASTER pre-sale isn’t anything to get excited about that is for sure. Tell me Ticketmaster- what is the point of a pre-sale when I went out of my way to disrupt my morning routine to be sure I would be online the minute the tickets went on pre-sale…and ended up with 4th row seats (or second row in the case of Opal…our first commenter) as my prize for doing so- only to then get railroaded several sections back into the seating because of a supposed error that wasn’t discovered until so many of the seats have already been sold. I bet that if I had waited for tickets to go on sale for regular non pre-sale time slot I would have received just as good if not better seats that I have now.

It’s comparing apples to oranges admittedly but it’s not just the NASCAR After The Lap thing that TICKETMASTER is having a problem administering the pre-sale for.  Here is an article about the Sugarland pre-sale for the makeup concert from the Indiana State Fair tragedy…ticketed fairgoers were suppose to have a special pre-sale of their own (without the sale part- tickets were suppose to be free for them) yet why was a news station able to take advantage of the special sale?

It’s really disappointing and the more I think about it the more disappointed (and ANGRY) I get.