Champions Week Rolls On
December 1, 2005 | 3:15 P.M. EST
Champion Tony Stewart opened the day with his fellow Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors at the New York Stock Exchange. The group, along with NASCAR President Mike Helton and Sprint Nextel Chief Marketing Officer Mark Schweitzer were guests of honor and helped kick off the day by ringing the opening bell.
Activities continued at an afternoon luncheon and press conference at Cipriani. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France addressed the group with a ‘State of the Sport' speech highlighting the 2005 season. In his speech, France congratulated Stewart and the Home Depot Team for its championship.
France also pointed out the importance of keeping competition close on the track.
"The close competition we had this year in the three national series is precisely what keeps our fans coming back for more," France said. "Preserving the competitive balance for every team that competes in NASCAR is one of the most important jobs we have."
France also mentioned the long history of having the Champions Awards Ceremony in New York.
"New York is the media capital of the world, we love being here. Tomorrow night, at the Waldorf=Astoria, we'll celebrate our 25th year in New York."
Donahue also spoke at the event, sharing Sprint Nextel's overview of their second season as title sponsor of NASCAR's top division.
Stewart was not the only champion recognized at the event. A special photo was arranged for the champions of each of NASCAR's 12 divisions, including the national touring series, regional touring series and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. It is the only time during the year that all of the champions are brought together.
Afterwards Stewart was taken to Times Square where he posed for a championship picture with his show car and trophy on Military Island. While there, a plaque from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declaring Thursday "NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Day" in the city was presented to Sprint Nextel Vice President of Sports Marketing Michael Robichaud.
The night will conclude for Stewart with the Sprint Champion's Celebration. Stewart and his team will be honored by Sprint Nextel at the Marriot Marquee.
"Its been awesome and we've had great weather," Stewart said about his week in the city. "I definitely think it's a great place to celebrate the championship."