There’s only three races remaining in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and now, only a little more than a month until all 13 competitors in the Chase for the Sprint Cup of said season let their guard down and blow off a year’s worth of steam.
The event where this happens is NASCAR’s “After the Lap,” sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola, and it will take place at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater at the Palms Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, December 5 at 5 p.m. PT.
“That’s the event where Jeff Gordon break dances, right?” Carl Edwards quipped.
Indeed the fifth consecutive year for this event in Vegas is one of the highlights of NASCAR’s all-too-short offseason. It’s a fan-friendly event because fans can enter to win a 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor or VIP trips to next year’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte or next year’s Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead. More details are available at www.NASCARAfterTheLap.com.
Edwards and Greg Biffle, Ford Racing teammates at Roush Fenway Racing, spoke in separate phone interviews about their love of fan interaction and how this event is a standout on the NASCAR calendar.
“It’s the event that always gets crazy. If I were a NASCAR fan that could go to one non-race event, it’d be this one,” Edwards said. “Everyone lets their hair down; it has a way of digressing into a full-out comedy show. And every driver leaves this event leaving and hoping what happened doesn’t end up on YouTube.
“It’s nice to have events like this, because you can relax, joke around, with your competitors all year,” he added. “You may not have spoken with them except with body language. This brings home the short track feel, socializing, hanging out.”
Biffle joked that his recent confrontation with Jimmie Johnson juuuust might be discussed at this year’s After the Lap.
“I’m sure we’ll be talking about our Martinsville incident,” he said. “Aside of that it gives us a chance to reflect on season, make jokes, and interact with each other.”
Edwards has made the fans a major part of his victory celebrations, with back flips off his car at each win, as well as a trip into the grandstands to celebrate with them.
“The back flip always makes me a little nervous,” he said. “But the neatest bit is going up in the grandstands, high-fiving people, as that’s probably the most fun fan interaction that I’ve had. And that’s not just my thing – I think more drivers could do that. I stole the idea from John Cena, the professional wrestler. It’s really cool to be there with the fans at the moment.”
Biffle had more to add on the truck, which he saw briefly on display at Michigan International Speedway earlier this year. Biffle won the June MIS race and the truck was displayed in August.
“It’s really exciting and fulfilling to hand the keys over to someone with no idea they’ll win the vehicle,” he said. “I didn’t get a lot of time to spend with it at the track, but I’ll be going to the SEMA show next week. I will get a great opportunity to get inside it and see it there, and the person that wins it, it’s a special piece.”