Champions Week Kicks Off

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 25th anniversary season of the NASCAR Busch Series and its association with Anheuser-Busch culminates Friday night with the crowning of the 2006 champion Kevin Harvick (No. 21 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet) as the 2006 champion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando.

Harvick captured his second NASCAR Busch Series title with a season worthy of its own place in NASCAR history. His team owner, Richard Childress, will also be recognized for his third NASCAR Busch Series owner crown.

Harvick also will be joined in Orlando by fellow competitors who claimed spots in the final NASCAR Busch Series top 10 rankings. The season-ending celebration includes a Media Day event on Thursday in addition to other activities for the drivers and media on the Disney properties.

Second-place Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest/Henkel Ford), third-place Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), fourth-place Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet), fifth-place J.J. Yeley (Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet), sixth-place Paul Menard (No. 11 Menard’s Chevrolet), seventh-place Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet), eighth-place Johnny Sauter (No. 00 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet), ninth-place Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ameriquest Ford) and 10th-place Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Co. Dodge) all will be recognized.

Danny O’Quinn Jr. (No. 50 World Financial Group Ford), who won the closest Raybestos Rookie of the year battle in NASCAR national series history, will be honored as well.

Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) will be in attendance to receive a special award.

Harvick, Hamlin and Busch will participate in their second awards banquet in as many weeks. The trio was in New York last week as part of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion’s week activities. Hamlin finished third in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Harvick was fourth and Busch was 10th.

Kevin Harvick is scheduled to arrive in Orlando on Wednesday to prepare for events leading to Friday’s NASCAR Busch Series Awards Banquet. Here’s a quick look at the main activities that encompass the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series Champion’s Week:

Thursday: Harvick and others in the NASCAR Busch Series top 10 drivers will gather at the ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., to meet with numerous national, regional and local media.

Following the Media Day event, the champion and top 10 drivers will head to the one-mile Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway where they’ll take turns driving “hot laps” for the media from 1-3:30 p.m. Harvick and NASCAR Busch Series director Joe Balash will conduct the “drivers meeting” prior to the hot laps. Robert Randolph, the lead singer for Robert Randolph & The Family Band,” the musical entertainment at the Awards Banquet, is scheduled to take a few laps with the champion.

Later, Harvick will then attend his Champion’s Dinner at an exclusive Orlando restaurant where NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France will serve as host.

Friday: Drivers, team personnel and media will enjoy some of the numerous Disney Sports & Recreation activities on site from 7-11:30 a.m. A fishing excursion with B.A.S.S. pros will include champion owner and noted outdoorsman Richard Childress. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin will take part in a nine-hole golf scramble at the Osprey Ridge Golf Course, one of five championship courses on the Disney properties.

Paul Menard, Johnny Sauter and champion crew chief Shane Wilson are among those who have chosen to participate in batting practice at The Ballpark at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, home of the Atlanta Braves spring training camp. Chicago Cubs catcher and NASCAR fan Michael Barrett, on site to participate in a Cubs’ fantasy camp, is scheduled to appear and give a few pointers to the drivers, Wilson and media in attendance.

Later that evening, Harvick officially will be crowned NASCAR Busch Series champion; the awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Grand Floridian Ballroom. TNT will air the ceremony at midnight (ET) on Dec. 19.

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