LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 29: 2011 Series Champion Tony Stewart poses with his trophy during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week on November 29, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR Las Vegas Champions Week Celebrates Tony Stewart's Third Title

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VIDEO: Jeff Gordon Break-Dances At 'NASCAR After The Lap' Event

At the wacky and wild "NASCAR After The Lap" event today in Las Vegas, Jimmie Johnson told a story about how Jeff Gordon used to break-dance.

Gordon initially refused to show his moves, but when the crowd chanted, "GORDON! GORDON!" he eventually relented.

Here's the short but sweet video of Gordon's slick moves:

Gordon said he started break-dancing in middle school because that's what all the cool kids did. In fact, the four-time NASCAR champ said he'd sneak into the bathroom and break-dance every morning before school, because they weren't allowed to dance in the hallways.

After Gordon's display, reaction from the drivers was mixed.

"Don't ever bring that shit into my club," said Denny Hamlin, who owns a popular Charlotte nightclub.


Darian Grubb: NASCAR Champions Week 'Awkward,' But Wants To Celebrate With Former Team

Darian Grubb got choked up several times during his acceptance speech of the NASCAR Champion Crew Chief Award on Thursday in Las Vegas, nearly breaking down at one point.

The crowd at the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon gave Grubb a standing ovation for his eloquent remarks, which included a thank-you to former driver/boss Tony Stewart. The pairing won the championship, but Grubb was told halfway through the Chase he would be fired at the end of the season.

Why was Grubb so emotional in his speech?

"It's tough," he said afterward. "To win the championship, it's one of the special moments of my life; but also knowing it's coming to an end in two days, it's a tough thing. But I've already got my office cleaned out, and we're ready to get moving."

Grubb said he'll decide his future next week. He's not sure whether he'll accept another crew chief position or perhaps a management role with a yet-to-be-determined team.

But Grubb said he still didn't know exactly why he was let go in the first place.

"I wish I knew," he said. "It's a big business. It's all about performance, and obviously there was something – that wasn't communicated to me – that I wasn't doing correctly. I wish I had an opportunity to try to fix that, wish I'd had that feedback somewhere along the line.

"But obviously, we had our ups and downs through the season. We had some really tough spots where my calls were bad, some other times where the cars were bad. It's just tough – those things stack up and sometimes the emotion may play more into the decision than the actual facts."

Stewart said Thursday he and the management at Stewart-Haas Racing felt a change was necessary and added it wasn't personal toward Grubb. He cited inconsistency and missed opportunities as factors in the decision.

"We're appreciative for everything he's done; very, very grateful we were able to finish the year the way we did, obviously," Stewart said. "It's one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make.

"Unfortunately, one or two wins and a championship doesn't change some of the variables we were looking at changing. Trust me, there's no major flaws with Darian, but we felt like we needed a change and we stuck with that."

Grubb will not be offered another job in the organization, such as competition director or crew chief for Danica Patrick, Stewart said.

So how was Grubb able to keep pushing forward through the last half of the Chase, even knowing he'd been fired?

"Just making sure I didn't let the team down," he said. " ... I didn't want to let those guys down, because they all worked too hard for this."

The crew chief acknowledged his championship celebration in Las Vegas was "awkward," but said he and his former team are trying to put it out of their minds. Grubb is even staying in the same hotel as the team so they can all go to dinner together.

Though there's a temptation to be bitter and want to prove Stewart wrong, Grubb said he's trying not to let those negative emotions seep into his decision-making.

"That's the hard part – you can't let those emotions be part of your deciding factor," he said. "Then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. I want to keep my integrity – I don't want to do it for spite or ill feeling. We want to go out there and win championships in the future; whether it's in a management role or a crew chief role, we'll decide next week."


Kurt Busch Discusses Actions At Homestead, Reveals He's Seeing Sports Psychologist

Kurt Busch said he recognizes his actions in NASCAR's season finale at Homestead – cursing at an ESPN pit reporter and being caught flipping his middle finger – were inappropriate and can't happen again.

The Penske Racing driver, who was fined $50,000 by NASCAR for the incidents, also said he's seeing a sports psychologist about controlling his anger after races.

"You can work 364 days on being positive and building a better platform, and it can take just one day to knock it all back," he said Thursday in Las Vegas. "I need to harness what happens in the race car and keep it there, and then I need to step out of the car and understand that if we didn't reach our goal for that day or that moment, that it's going to be alright at the end."

Busch said he also understands "I need to be a better person on the radio, to the team, as a leader." He indicated a belief that NASCAR's fine was fair.

"My actions were were inappropriate," he said. "I feel like (NASCAR officials) have to control the sport in a positive way. What I did wasn't very positive. And so we'll look at it and decide what we need to do moving forward on how we need to react to it. ... We've got things to fix."

Busch said his anger toward ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch stemmed from being told the No. 22 car's broken transmission had damaged Tony Stewart's championship-contending car earlier in the race.

The driver said he was already upset about likely finishing 11th in the points – and thus the "first loser" in Las Vegas for the banquet (only the top 10 drivers make speeches at Friday's ceremony). When Punch broke the news that Busch's car had hurt Stewart's Chase title hopes, Busch was enraged because he thought former owner Jack Roush might win the championship with Carl Edwards.

"I realized, 'My car is taking away a shot at Tony's championship,'" Busch said. "I used to work for the guys who Carl races for, and that was the first thing that flashed through my mind: 'I took Stewart's chances away.'"

As for the speculation Busch was actually flipping off the First Lady (his finger was directed at Michelle Obama's SUVs), the driver said he was simply upset that vehicles were blocking his garage stall.

"My car was dead; I didn't have any power to move forward," he said. "There were all these SUVs parked in front of my car. I don't know who it was or what was going on. ... (The gesture wasn't for) nobody in general."

Though Busch was rebuked by sponsor Shell-Pennzoil, the driver said his job was not in jeopardy.

"As the sponsor is concerned, yes, they're agitated about what happened at Homestead," he said. "But looking forward, we can find better things."

In other news, Busch is looking for a new crew chief after Steve Addington bolted for Stewart-Haas Racing, where he'll be atop Stewart's pit box next season.

Busch said he and Addington departed "as friends" with a handshake, even though Busch was surprised when he heard Addington might leave in October.

Former Stewart crew chief Darian Grubb is "an option," Busch said, but Penske is more likely to promote someone who is already with the organization.

He cited the successful pairing of teammate Brad Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe – who came through the Penske system – and said "I think internally, we're going to find our key guy."

"I need a Jimmy Fennig – a lead veteran," Busch said. "I need somebody that's going to respect what I've done, but also control me in a way that is positive. I like to look up to guys.

"If we find that right person, it's going to be somebody who is able to manage the crew, get the best out of the over-the-wall guys and understand what I need out of the race car – and be able to put me back in my box when I get out of it."


Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins Ninth NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award

There is little doubt Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the most popular driver in NASCAR, but that was made official again Thursday as he earned his ninth consecutive NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award.

This year, Earnhardt Jr. beat out Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart after more than 1.5 million votes were cast online.

"It's an honor to win this award for the ninth year," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'm glad they didn't take the vote solely on the last race, because it would have gone to that man right there, Tony Stewart."

Earnhardt Jr. congratulated his fans for the award, calling it a "badge of honor" for them as well as him.

"Their efforts allow me to be here today to accept it," he said. "I don't only want to thank them, but congratulate them on winning the ninth consecutive Most Popular Driver Award. It's a privilege to compete in front of millions of fans every week. The credit goes to them all for the success this sport has had since its beginnings."

The award moves Earnhardt Jr. into elite company, now one away from tying Bill Elliott for the most consecutive years as the Most Popular Driver. He still has some catching up to do, however, to equal Elliott's 16 awards.

Past winners of the award include, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Richard Petty, and others. Curtis Turner was named the inaugural Most Popular Driver in 1956.


NASCAR Champions Week In Las Vegas Kicks Off With 'Newlywed Game'

Since moving its season-ending Champions Week celebration to Las Vegas two years ago, NASCAR has come up with some pretty awesome – and hilarious – events in which drivers can really let loose and show some personality.

Wednesday's "NASCAR Newlywed Game" in the Fremont Street area of downtown Las Vegas was perhaps the best yet.

Drivers were paired into teams and had to answer questions about each other, in the style of the classic Newlywed Game game show.

The program's original host, Bob Eubanks, even hosted Wednesday's game. Teams included Brad Keselowski/Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin/Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr./Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson/Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman/Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards/Matt Kenseth.

Below are some of the funniest and most outrageous moments from the "NASCAR Newlywed Game."


Question: "If you want a really good laugh, watch my partner when he does this."

Keselowski on Kurt Busch: "Watch his in-car camera."

Earnhardt Jr. on Harvick: "Cuss out his pit crew."

Hamlin on Kyle Busch: "Watch Kyle play any athletic sport."

Best answer: Kurt Busch poked fun at his recent incident with ESPN's Jerry Punch and said: "I've been pretty good at making myself look like an idiot just about everywhere lately. ... There's YouTube all over the place these days."

• Question: "My partner is a good driver, but he'd be better if he drove more like _____."

Keselowski on Kurt: "His brother."

Earnhardt Jr. on Harvick: "Dale Earnhardt."

Hamlin on Kyle Busch: "He thinks he's the best already, but I'll say his brother."

Best answer: Kyle Busch said, "Considering the Busch Brothers are the best out there, it'd have to be Kurt."

• Question: "Which driver's wife do you think could win a wet T-shirt contest?"

Keselowski couldn't come up with an answer, so Hamlin interjected, "Just pick one of my girlfriends."

"I don't know their names!" Keselowski replied.

"I don't either!" Hamlin joked.

Best answer: After Earnhardt Jr. said "My future wife" would win the contest, Harvick guessed Katie Kenseth instead and got it wrong. He protested to Earnhardt Jr., saying "You don't ever bring (your girlfriend) out! I don't even know what she looks like!"

• Question: "What's the funniest thing about your partner's body?"

Kurt Busch on Keselowski: "His grille."

Harvick on Earnhardt Jr.: "His smile."

Kyle Busch on Hamlin: "His hair. It looks like it was cut on Dumb and Dumber."

Best answer: When told Harvick thought Earnhardt Jr.'s smile was funny-looking, NASCAR's most popular driver looked surprised and replied, "Oh, is it??"

• Question: "What's something most people don't know about your partner?"

Kurt Busch on Keselowski: "That he's a really good driver."

Harvick on Earnhardt Jr.: "He used to live in a damn trailer."

Kyle Busch on Hamlin: "He's better than Michael Jordan (at basketball)."

Best answer: Keselowski, who is sponsored by Miller Lite, confessed to the crowd: "I get drunk very easily."

• Question: "If you had to give your partner a nickname based on the way he drives, what would it be?"

Kurt Busch on Keselowski: "Bad Brad."

Harvick on Earnhardt Jr.: "Junior."

Kyle Busch on Hamlin: "Quiet."

Best answer: Earnhardt Jr. guessed "Weapon" for his nickname and then chided Harvick for his "Junior" answer. "Come on!" Earnhardt Jr. said. "That's already my nickname!"

• Question: "What is your partner's most annoying habit?"

Gordon on Johnson: "Winning."

Kenseth on Edwards: "He's always late."

Newman on Stewart: "Always late, too."

Best answer: When Eubanks told Edwards he was always late, the host added, "You're late crossing the finish line, too." The crowd roared and Edwards responded with a playful kick.

• Question: "If you had a daughter, which driver would you forbid her from dating?"

Gordon on Johnson: "Can I pick them all? Based on what I've heard today, I'd say Denny Hamlin."

Kenseth on Edwards: "Danica."

Newman: "Himself (Stewart)."

Best answer: Stewart was one of many in the crowd who cracked up at Kenseth's answer. But he actually liked the idea. "If she starts dating her, I'm gonna be stoked!" he said. Stewart also correctly guessed Newman would not let his daughter date this year's NASCAR champ.

• Question: "What's your partner's biggest turnoff to the opposite sex?"

Gordon on Johnson: "He used to shave his legs in high school."

Kenseth on Edwards: "He likes to look at himself more than her."

Newman on Stewart: "He's the hairiest person I know."

Best answers: Johnson explained his leg-shaving by saying he was on the swim team. Edwards blurted out: "Bad body odor when I'm nervous."

• Question: "Complete this sentence: Ugly, ugly ugly – that's all I can think about my partner's _____."

Johnson on Gordon: "That moustache he had."

Edwards on Kenseth: "His feet."

Stewart on Newman: "His big head."

Best answer: Newman knew Stewart would say his head, and he was correct.

• Question: "I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I'm not too crazy about the way he ______."

Johnson on Gordon: "Whines. It's just the general tone of his voice."

Edwards on Kenseth: "Has too much sarcasm."

Stewart on Newman: "The way he belches in team meetings."

Best answer: Newman had a "TMI" moment and told the crowd, "I can fart the alphabet."

• Question: "Which driver would your partner want to bump out of the way to win a race on the last lap?"

Johnson on Gordon: "Probably me."

Edwards on Kenseth: "Brian Vickers."

Stewart on Newman: "I'd say Brian Vickers, too."

Best answer: Kenseth admitted Edwards was right, but said, "Yeah, but (Vickers) probably wouldn't be leading." The crowd erupted in laughter and Kenseth added, "Guess I'm screwed at Phoenix again next year!"

THE WINNERS: Hamlin/Kyle Busch won the first round and Stewart/Newman won the second round. Stewart's team then won the tiebreaker, which was guessing the attendance at last season's Las Vegas race.

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