Thursday night racers traded in the speedway for a ballroom, fire suits for tuxedos and steering wheels for speeches for the 9th annual NASCAR Awards show held in Las Vegas.
“It’s been unbelievable honestly I don’t know if it is 100 percent soaked in really, just what it means to my career, for our team what it means for us going forward,” said 2017 NASCAR Champion, Martin Truex Jr. “Just trying to enjoy it, every minute, step by step I guess.”
All 16 playoff drivers walked the Monster Energy black carpet, some congratulated the champ.
“We’re celebrating a real good champion who happens to be a real good friend, real happy for Martin,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Others watched what they hope to achieve.
“You get to see him up there and see the enjoyment, which is really neat for Martin, well deserving, but you still wish and hope you get a chance to do the same thing,” said Erik Jones.
During the 90-minute award show, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the most popular driver for the 15th consecutive year, which for him was another humbling honor.
“Usually those moments happen when you have a moment to think, usually you’re in a deer stand or a lazy day on the couch, that’s when you really have the opportunity to think about things and reflect a little bit,” said Earnhardt Jr.
Also during the event, NASCAR acknowledged a group of 1 October first responders and just this week Las Vegas’ own Kurt Busch raised more than $40,000 for victims of the tragedy.
“You learn about the mental wounds from that day, not necessarily the physical wounds that people have gone through/Just get their minds off what happened and get back to normalcy,” said Las Vegas local, Kurt Busch.
Some see Champions Week as the end of the season, while others see it as a start to 2018.
“The favorite part is when you’re the champion and you get to go on stage and be in front of everyone and collect the championship trophy and take that home with ya, but when you’re second like we are it’s nice to come tot he end of the season, close the book and start next year already,” said Busch.
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