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Las Vegas, Yes! But Jeff Gordon says New York City is still key for NASCAR


Is this where the 2009 NASCAR champion will be feted? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



    By Mike Mulhern

      FORT WORTH, Texas
     This year NASCAR's champion gets to celebrate in Las Vegas, rather than New York.
      But whoever wins better have a good supply of anti-jet-lag meds, because this year's post-season schedule is going to be coast to coast….maybe coast to coast to coast….with all the TV shows NASCAR is looking to showcase its winner on.
     Plan on New York, then six hours to Las Vegas, and then down to Los Angeles…
    And Jeff  Gordon, who still has that New York City condo (like Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers), says even with the awards festival moving to Las Vegas, New York City is still important: "That's what's key -- not losing the presence in the media in New York….and trying to gain a little bit more in Los Angeles.
   "And then have a facility that can really do what should be done."
    Like the MGM Grand or the Mandalay Bay.
    And invite 10,000 fans for a Vegas-style show, instead of that snoozer dinner affair at the Waldorf.
   "There are some limitations in New York (in terms of getting fans involved again)," Gordon adds. "Even though I think New York has been fantastic. It takes the sport to another level having it there.
   "It's important not to lose that. But it doesn't necessarily mean the banquet has to be held there on banquet night."
    Of course now that NASCAR is moving the post-season shindig to Vegas, there will be speculation, talk, and push to take the season finale there too, as promoter Bruton Smith is pushing.
    "Certainly from a driver standpoint," Gordon says a Las Vegas finale would be nice. "You want to pick up the check and the trophy and go on vacation and enjoy it.
    "But reality is that's not going to accomplish what I believe NASCAR is trying to do from their marketing."

   But there's nothing quite like New York City (Photo: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)


NASCAR held the banquet in

NASCAR held the banquet in New York since 1981 and the sport never advanced to this mythical "other level" Gordon talks about. Having the banquet in Vegas won't help the sport, either. Put the banquet back in Daytona.

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