After the Myers Brothers Awards Ceremony, I left the Venetian and headed back to my room so that I could change out of my “business casual” dress and into clothes that were much warmer. It was so cold in Vegas. I wished it would get into the 70s but it never got close. Friday night, the night of the awards ceremony it was in the low 50s with freeze warnings in effect.
So I changed my clothes and tried to walk quickly to the monorail at Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station so that I could get to the MGM Grand as fast as possible because that’s where the start/finish line was for the Victory Lap. I wanted to see the top-12 drivers doing burnouts, but it wasn’t to be. I missed the whole thing. What I did see, from the windows of the monorail, was the traffic that was backed up for at least a mile next to the Strip. That was kinda neat.
I should have stayed at the Mirage and just watched it from there, but I wanted to be in position to attend After The Lap presented by Tissot at that MGM Grand, and I was also seriously if-i-don’t-eat-something-now-i-will-faint hungry. So I had lunch and then snuck into an already packed theater for the After The Lap fan Q&A session with the top-12 drivers.
Inside the place was packed with more people still waiting outside the theater hoping to get in. Jamie Little hosted the event and asked each driver a question submitted by fans. It was a very fun event and if they don’t do it again next year that would really suck. I think it was an awesome way to connect with the fans and give them something extra. They weren’t shaking hands and all that but I think because of the roast the day before all of the guys were more relaxed and really went “there” in showing their personalities.
For example, someone asked Brian Vickers if he’d seen the movie The Hangover, to which he said “I’ve lived it.” Then Brian launched into a story about going to Las Vegas with Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears, and how after a long night out they’d been at a diner eating breakfast and Jimmie ended up with butter in his hair. I don’t know about you but those are the stories I want to hear. That one little anecdote did more to tell me about who Jimmie Johnson really is than a lot of stuff you get in routine interviews.
The cherry on top of the After The Lap presented by Tissot event was when UNLV’s marching band came in and performed “Viva Las Vegas.” Perfection.
Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle
Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya
Kasey Kahne and Jamie Little
Kasey Kahne (left) and Carl Edwards
UNLV Marching Band
All photos credit: The Fast and the Fabulous