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ThatsRacin.com


How about moving NASCAR awards gala back to New York ... or maybe Charlotte?

TOM HIGGINS’ SCUFFS

- ThatsRacin.com Contributor
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012

Out of curiosity, I wish the Las Vegas book makers would consider this:

What are the odds that the NASCAR-affiliated folks attending this week’s post-season Cup Series awards soiree in Sin City would prefer that the party be held in New York, as it was for more than two decades?

Judging from conversations I’ve had with people who have taken part in the proceedings in both cities, my assumption is about 4-1.

Las Vegas was a novel change a few years ago.

However, despite the flashing lights and the siren songs of the slot machines, the Nevada desert can seem a dreary place, especially during the holiday season.

Contrast New York!

Think Bob Hope singing “Silver Bells.” Think the aroma of chestnuts roasting on the street corners. Think the Christmas tree and ice skaters at Rockefeller Center. Think “Miracle On 34th Street.” Think the dazzling displays of toys and holiday characters and winter-time scenes in store windows along the great avenues. Think shoppers hustling home with their treasures.

Oh, those stores…

Among the NASCAR wives, the shopping in New York alone would tip the odds toward the Big Apple.

(In New York for the 1990 season’s awards, a female friend and I went browsing, just for fun, at Saks in midtown Manhattan. Positioned on a pedestal was a mannequin draped in a dazzling dress. The price tag for the frock was $15,000. The next night the wife of one of the richest men in NASCAR entered the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria for the awards banquet wearing that dress).

Before the high honchos at NASCAR schedule future post-season events at Las Vegas (or return to New York), please permit me to make a pitch on behalf of Charlotte. It’s an idea that I have been espousing for a quarter century.

My plan:

Hold the awards show in the arena downtown. Seat the drivers, team owners, sponsor executives and other VIPs on the arena floor. Allow fans to attend, sitting in the stands for a modest fee. Donate the proceeds either to the NASCAR Foundation or the Cup Series champion’s favorite charity.

Now that the NASCAR Hall of Fame has come into being in Charlotte, fans who pay to attend the awards event would get a free ticket to visit the museum honoring Richard Petty, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Big Bill and Billy France and others—or at least a discount.

Plus, what dictates that the post-season bonuses be paid in December?

Why not schedule the big bash in January, pairing it with the annual Cup Series preview at the Charlotte Convention Center? I think thousands of fans would come from across the country to attend.

There is precedent for presenting the checks later, not sooner.

Up until the first time NASCAR went to New York for the awards show in 1981, the champion and other top finishers in the previous season’s point standings often were honored during Daytona 500 week in February.

What odds would bookies place on my suggestions favoring Charlotte to become the site of post-season partying?

Sigh.

Probably a billion-to-one.

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