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2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet Preview


Howie Mandel to Host Entertainment-Packed 2012 Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony:

Brad Keselowski earned the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship with a very impressive display of performance and consistency during the 2012 Chase for the Cup. Although the NASCAR season is behind us there is still one more piece of business to attend to.

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Banquet is this Friday night live from The Wynn in Las Vegas. This star-studded affair will recap the season and honor the Champion with speeches, entertainment and plenty of optimism for the future.

Date and Time:

Friday November 30th at 8:00 PM Eastern

The Location:

The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada

Media Coverage:

SPEED will have the broadcast starting at 8pm Eastern

MRN and XM Satellite Radio will have the audio coverage starting at 8pm Eastern

The Drivers:

The top ten drivers make it to the stage during the banquet. This means that the eleventh and twelfth place finishers in the Chase for the Cup do not appear. In 2012 this leaves eleventh place Martin Truex Jr. and twelfth place Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the outside looking in. However, since Dale Earnhardt Jr. will likely win another Most Popular Driver award this year we can expect to see him, at least briefly, during Friday night's show.

The Final Top Ten:

  1. Brad Keselowski 0
  2. Clint Bowyer -39
  3. Jimmie Johnson -40
  4. Kasey Kahne -55
  5. Greg Biffle -68
  6. Denny Hamlin -71
  7. Matt Kenseth -76
  8. Kevin Harvick -79
  9. Tony Stewart -89
  10. Jeff Gordon -97

The Entertainment:

Last year the entertainment portion of the program featured a nice rebound from previous banquets. Kid Rock and Reba headlined a show that was pretty entertaining from start to finish.

The 2012 lineup is pretty strong on paper as well. We will have to see how well it all comes together on Friday night.

This year's lineup includes:

  • Howie Mandel takes over for Reba as the host of this year's event. I'm not a big Howie fan but I will reserve judgement until we see the show. He has mellowed in recent years and might be ok for the role.
  • Train has been partnering with NASCAR this season. They performed in the July Daytona pre-race show and lead singer Pat Monahan sang the National Anthem for the Daytona 500. They are slated to perform during the show on Friday.
  • Lifehouse and Natasha Bedingfield will perform their collaboration "Between the Raindrops"
  • American Idol winner Phillip Phillips will also perform on Friday as part of the launch of his brand new album “The World from the Side of the Moon” which just dropped last week.
  • Last year the Las Vegas cast of "Jersey Boys" stopped by for a number. This year it will be the cast of "The Beatles LOVE" which was described as the magic of Cirque du Soleil combined with the spirit and passion of The Beatles. Sounds interesting.

What to Expect:

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony can be a bit hit-or-miss. The 2011 edition was actually pretty good. Except a few awkward moments on the red carpet the overall show was definitely worth the effort.

What should we expect to see when SPEED goes live on Friday night?

Every year the broadcast leads off with Red Carpet interviews of drivers and NASCAR celebrities as they arrive at The Wynn for the banquet. The bradcast team works hard to keep this moving along and entertaining. Mostly it is, sometimes it falls flat but they are trying.

Next we will finally move into the ball room for Howie Mandel. I expect he will do some comedy and set the stage for the evening.

If previous banquets serve as a guide then we can expect at least two hours to pass before Jeff Gordon is introduced as the tenth place driver. That is a lot of fluff. Much of that fluff is entertaining but it's still, unmistakably, fluff.

The Main Event

When the drivers get their turn fans can expect long lists of thank yous. Sponsors, crew members and family members all need to be thanked and many of them will be listed by name. Most drivers will congratulate Brad, Roger Penske and the entire Penske South team on their impressive 2012 performance.

The banquet has been improving in recent years and I have high hopes for this Friday night's 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet.

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