Buschs Last Bash

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Last Friday night’s awards banquet for NASCAR’s No. 2 series was the 26th, and final, for title sponsor Anheuser-Busch.

    This year the NASCAR Busch Series banquet was back at the Tuscan Ballroom of the Portofino Bay Hotel on the grounds of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. And like previous awards shows for the Busch and Craftsman Trucks Series, the program followed its talk show-type format with the drivers that finished 10th through second.

    Here are some of the highlights from the awards ceremony that will air on December 11 at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.

  • This year’s banquet was unique, as for the second time in series history there were two head tables for separate driver (Carl Edwards) and owner (Richard Childress) champions.
  • Edwards was accompanied by his mother, Nancy Sterling at the head table.
  • Richard Childress Racing had a large team backing in the crowd as they cheered on the RCR head table that included co-drivers Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer.
  • International Speedway Corporation President Lesa France Kennedy presented Carl Edwards the Most Popular driver of the Year Award. Edwards then went on to tell the story on how he unexpectedly met Kennedy and her husband, the late Dr. Bruce Kennedy, while at the 2000 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series banquet.

    "We had some alcohol and were having a party in our room to celebrate my track championship at Capitol Speedway,” Edwards said. "Lesa and I ended up going downtown and dancing all night after Bruce said, 'Honey, you're on your own with this one.' "At that moment, I knew NASCAR was in good shape, thanks to Lesa Kennedy."
  • NASCAR President Mike Helton introduced a touching tribute video to the NASCAR and media personalities who we lost this season, which included Bill France Jr., Dr. Kennedy, 2004 Truck Series Champion Bobby Hamilton and 1973 Cup champion Benny Parsons.
  • NASCAR chairman Brian France presented Anheuser-Busch with a painting by Jeff Weis that displayed the champion's through-out the series' 26 years.
  • Comedian John Pinette, who would have been a perfect replacement for David Spade in New York, came on stage and did two hilarious sets.
  • John Ondrasik, the lead singer of Five for Fighting, sang his No. 1 hit “100 Years" that he also performed before the 2005 Daytona 500.
  • Ondrasik also could have done a little foreshadowing for Ford’s 2009 NASCAR Nationwide season as he sang the only song he has written about a car titled "65 Mustang."
  • Host Allen Bestwick mentioned RCR crew member PJ Bryant's (catchcan man on the No. 29 Holiday Inn team) name on stage and had him stand up in the crowd. Bestwick then said, “He told me he would give me $100 if I said his name on stage.” Bestwick told the audience that he would donate the money to the American Cancer Society in honor of Benny Parsons.
  • Marcos Ambrose celebrated his first season of Busch racing with a trip on stage for his eighth-place finish. After the awards ceremony he returned to Australia for the holidays with his family for the first time in a year.
  • Sixth-place finisher Bobby Hamilton Jr’s talked about how he just got the word before he left for Orlando that the team secured a sponsor and how he also accepted a ride in the Busch East Series before the news.
  • Fifth-place finisher David Ragan was honored as Rookie of the Year.
  • Before making his speech on behalf of the sponsor for RCR, Holiday Inn’s Mark Snyder presented Edwards with a free three-night stay at any Holiday Inn.
  • Edwards broke out his video camera before giving his speech and said, "That will look good on the web site."
  • No back flips were performed in the taping of the awards ceremony.
  • The night ended late into the night with two separate after parties for Roush-Fenway and RCR.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2007

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