RELATED: Festivities set for Champion's Week " Champion's Week homepage MORE: Full schedule of live streaming at NASCAR.com for Champion's Week Fans going through offseason NASCAR withdrawal have a potent salve to look forward to this week. Champion's Week, NASCAR's annual postseason celebration, kicks off Tuesday in Las Vegas with a packed week of activities and special appearances. The week culminates with Friday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, where first-time champion Kyle Busch will be the toast of his hometown. All 16 drivers from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs will participate in the fan-friendly jubilee, with events centered at the Wynn Las Vegas and other areas along Sin City's Strip. A fan experience at the LINQ Promenade will be open to the public from Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. The activities begin in earnest Tuesday with Eli Gold's annual interactive NASCAR Live show from the Wynn's Race and Sports Book, featuring a sit-down interview and fan Q&A with this year's champion. Starting Wednesday, the festivities spread to Las Vegas Motor Speedway 's annual FanFest at Fremont Street, including a red carpet walk and game show activity for all 16 Chase drivers. The NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon takes place Thursday with the presentation of several special honors from the NASCAR industry. From there, the 16 Chase drivers will participate in the NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco, a raucous, tire-smoking trip up the Las Vegas Strip, before taking part in the NASCAR After the Lap presented by Ford and Sprint, an unfiltered tell-all hosted by Rutledge Wood and Courtney Hansen. All three Thursday events will be live-streamed on NASCAR.com. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards caps the weeklong bash with a black-tie gala honoring every Chase driver, hosted by comedian and TV personality Drew Carey. The formal event will also reveal the winner of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide, shortly after balloting concludes Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. RELATED: Cast your vote today
RELATED: Full race results " Final standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- To go fast, all Kyle Busch had to do was mash the gas pedal. To go faster, all he had to do was slow down. Had to slow down. No choice there. Busch "got in a fight" with an unprotected, concrete wall at Daytona before the season's first Sprint Cup Series race. He lost. Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway , he won. The road to the Sprint Cup title is a curious one. They say the 30-year-old Busch is a "changed" man -- actually, the word often used is "matured" -- and I hope that's only partly true. It's the competitive fire in Busch that pushes him to dance with a race car on the very edge. Occasionally, the results are disastrous; often, though, they are a thing of beauty. Busch didn't compete in all 36 points races this season, but for reasons out of his control. A broken right leg and a left foot that gave new meaning to the word "fractured" took care of that. For nearly 12 weeks, Busch idled. Idle is not a speed to which the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is accustomed. One doesn't win 154 races across three series by idling. A bed-ridden Busch had to sit and watch as three other drivers climbed into his No. 18 Toyota. It's been said that nothing hurts a racer more than seeing someone else in his car. Rehab was painful; sitting on the sidelines was agonizing. Potential wins were slipping by him on the television screen. When he finally did make it back to the track, no one knew what to expect, least of all Busch. Sure, he was confident. His crew chief, Adam Stevens, and car owner, Joe Gibbs, were confident. But no one was certain. No one knew if a broken leg and fractured foot were the only real injuries Busch suffered in Daytona several months earlier. Maybe the "want to" was still there, but the question was, could he? Could he still feel every nuance of the car as it rocketed around a race track? Could he push it to the very edge, find the sliver of an opening that existed only briefly, and charge his way through the field? Not only could Busch still do those things, but in some ways he did them better. Only six weeks after his return, Busch was back in the winner's circle, victorious at, of all places, Sonoma Raceway. In little more than a month's time, he won three consecutive races and four of five. Nearly as telling was his performance in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . The format, tweaked from time to time, has always dealt hefty penalties for miscues with little or no time to recover, and Busch has had his share. This time, he navigated the minefield that stretched from Chicago to Homestead with minimal damage. If Busch has changed, so has his approach, something he called a "just let everything be" tactic. It's a short phrase that speaks volumes about his confidence in himself and his team. Changed? Maybe. Maybe hitting a concrete wall and starting a family and sitting on the sidelines had an effect on him after all. Slowing down wasn't a part of the plan. But in the end, that's what it took. And Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, is just fine with that.
RELATED: Full Champion's Week schedule Champion's Week is here, and NASCAR.com will live stream several events from Las Vegas as NASCAR formally wraps up the 2015 season. Below is the complete schedule. All ti m es are ET TUESDAY, DEC. 1: -- 2:30-3 p.m.: Kyle Busch and Miss Sprint Cup Julianna White chat ( Watch live ) WEDNESDAY, DEC. 2: -- 3-3:30 p.m.: Dirty Air Podcast ( Watch live ) THURSDAY, DEC. 3: -- 2-4:15 p.m.: NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon ( Watch live ) -- 6-7:15 p.m.: NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco, live from the Las Vegas Strip ( Watch live ) -- 7:15-7:30 p.m.: Matthew Dillner rides Toyota pace car to NASCAR After the Lap location ( Watch live ) -- 7:30-7:45 p.m.: Tweets You Might Have Missed, with Taylor Starer and Costner Merrifield ( Watch live ) -- 8:05-9:30 p.m.: NASCAR After the Lap, Live from The Palms ( Watch live )
Denny Hamlin , driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing , had successful surgery on his right knee this afternoon. Hamlin, who tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament while playing basketball in early September, is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2016 NASCAR season in February at Daytona International Speedway . The surgery was previously scheduled and was done by OrthoCarolina's Dr. Patrick Connor. The injury did not force Hamlin to miss time, and he finished ninth overall in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Team officials say Hamlin’s status for this week’s Champion’s Week festivities is uncertain at this time.
RELATED: Keep updated on the 2016 changes for drivers, crew chiefs Stewart-Haas Racing announced Monday its crew chief lineup for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including high-profile changes for two of its four teams. Michael Bugarewicz will become the new crew chief for team co-owner/driver Tony Stewart as he embarks on his final full season in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Billy Scott will take over as crew chief for Danica Patrick in the No. 10 Chevy. Bugarewicz, a 33-year-old native of Lehighton, Pennsylvania, makes the transition from his previous role with SHR as race engineer on the No. 4 Chevrolet team for 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick . He previously spent time with Roush Fenway Racing in an engineering role for the No. 17 Ford and drivers Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . from 2011-13. Bugarewicz replaces Chad Johnston, who left to become the crew chief for Kyle Larson and the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet team. The 2016 season will mark Stewart's last campaign in the sport's top series. RELATED: Stewart to retire from Cup after 2016 " Johnston heads to CGR "We have great people at Stewart-Haas Racing and these changes prove that," Stewart said in a release provided by the team. "We were able to promote from within while also adding new talent. Change isn’t easy, and that’s particularly true when it comes to my relationship with Chad Johnston. He served as my crew chief during two very difficult seasons. He was always supportive and he's become like a brother to me. I think very highly of Chad and wish him nothing but the best in his new opportunity." Scott joins Stewart-Haas after an eight-year tenure as an engineer and later a crew chief with Michael Waltrip Racing , which shut its doors at season's end. The transition reunites Scott with Rodney Childers, who joined SHR in 2014 after five years with the Waltrip-owned team. The 38-year-old from Land O' Lakes, Florida, replaces Daniel Knost, who has been promoted to the senior leadership role of manager of vehicle dynamics within the Stewart-Haas organization. The driver/crew chief lineups remain intact for the two SHR teams that qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs this season. Childers will return atop the pit box for Harvick's No. 4 entry, and Tony Gibson will again be paired with Kurt Busch in 2016. "We made these changes after thoroughly evaluating our program to ensure that all four of our teams are consistently strong and competitive," said Greg Zipadelli, Stewart-Haas Racing 's vice president of competition. "In this business, you can't rest and you can never be satisfied. You have to constantly improve. We feel these personnel changes enhance our strengths and shore up areas where we needed to be better."
Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin wants you to vote for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide.
Lorene King, executive director of the NASCAR Foundation, has done a Q&A with each of the four finalists for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. They will appear on NASCAR.com this week. RELATED: Cast your vote today As another year comes swiftly to a close, we should all take time for reflection. As a charitable organization, we are thankful for those of you whose volunteer service impacts the lives of others and our communities. Volunteerism remains strong with one in four adults volunteering in our country. The NASCAR Foundation has established the encouragement and support of volunteerism as one of our major efforts. Through the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award that honors our founder, Betty Jane France, we annually receive and review hundreds of nominees from which four finalists are selected. The stories of these four outstanding, everyday champions and the charities they serve are told through special appearances at NASCAR races, our marketing efforts and those of our supporters and sponsors. We are blessed this year that Nationwide has joined us as Presenting Sponsor of the Award and is helping us spread the word about each of our finalists and their work for children. This week, we are giving you a more in-depth look at each of this year's finalists. These outstanding volunteers will touch your heart, so please stay tuned as each of these champions for children share their passion. And you can help -- vote for your favorite every day, share these stories through social media, and tune in to the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at Wynn Las Vegas at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 4 (NBCSN), to see the winner of this year's award. Q: What does it mean to you to be among the finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide this year? A: It means the world. Not only is my whole family NASCAR fans, this award will truly help put us on the map and be a game changer for the Stephanie Decker Foundation. The cost of running a camp for amputee kids can be quite high, between scholarships, travel/food for kids, programming, supplies and staffing. Q: How will being selected as a finalist further your cause? A: This award provides a large platform to bring awareness to children with missing limbs to an audience that we wouldn’t have reached before. Not only is it an opportunity to obtain sponsorships and form partnerships with other like-minded foundations, but it truly helps to bring awareness to the parents of limb different children, letting them know our organization exists to help. Q: Why did you choose to work with this organization and/or cause? A: When I lost my legs and began to get media attention about my survival, I realized that I was given a true opportunity to help make a difference. After experiencing our first camp and seeing the impact on the children we were helping, I knew this was what my family and I were meant to do. We haven’t looked back since. Our foundation helps provide sport opportunities, and sports are huge in our family. Being able to provide kids with confidence, skill, and teach metaphors for life experiences is priceless. Q: What inspires you and your personal commitment to your cause? A: When the kids first come into camp they are shy, but then they just blossom and come out of their shell. The truth is, those kids personally give us so much more in return than we can give them. It's about the kids. They are our "why." Q: What has been the most rewarding moment during your work with your charity so far? A: There was an amazing girl named Ella who never played sports (didn't think she could) and was so quiet. Through her experiences at camp, she has gained so much confidence. Now she does jujitsu and loves to talk -- and her mother said our camp changed her life. Instead of being a victim in other people’s eyes, she is now an advocate for herself and is taking on the world. It is priceless. Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you, your charity and your work? A: We are so honored to even be considered. It's important that people know we are an organization that needs some awareness -- by voting for our foundation, it's a true opportunity to make a difference in children's lives.
2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Erik Jones gives his acceptance speech during the end-of-season banquet at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Florida.
RELATED: NBC Sports Live Extra All times ET Monday, Nov. 30 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year, FS1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year (re-air), FS2 Tuesday, Dec. 1 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year, FS1 Wednesday, Dec. 2 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 9 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year (re-air), FS1 10 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year (re-air), FS1 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year, FS1 Thursday, Dec. 3 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of the Year, FS1 Friday, Dec. 4 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 8 p.m., NASCAR Red Carpet Special, NBCSN 9 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Show, NBCSN Midnight, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Show (re-air), NBCSN &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
RELATED: Complete Miami race results " Series standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- With the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title now in Erik Jones ' rear-view mirror, the immediate question becomes "What's next for the 19-year-old prodigy?" With a relatively nondescript, problem-free sixth-place finish in Friday night's Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway , Jones secured the series driver's championship, as well as the owner's title for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Discovered by Busch when he beat his future car owner as a 16-year-old in the Snowball Derby for Super Late Models, Jones delivered the championship after running two part-time seasons for KBM. "I can't think of a better way to repay these guys," Jones said in Victory Lane, after securing the title by 15 points over runner-up Tyler Reddick . "I can't think of a better way to thank Kyle for all these years (than by ) getting the driver’s championship for him. He's wanted one since the company started, and to bring it home for myself and for KBM, you couldn't really ask for a better ending than that." The youngest champion in series history at 19 years, 5 months, 21 days, Jones has been earmarked for a meteoric ascent to the top level of NASCAR racing. "It means so much more to have the opportunity to help these younger drivers and to help these kids that are coming up through the ranks to be successful," Busch said. "And to do that with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota, there's nothing greater than to have that feeling and to build that company from the ground up, from nothing, and take it to where it is today." But first things first. Team owner Joe Gibbs reiterated on Friday the plan to run Jones in a full season of NASCAR XFINITY Series racing next year, with a few selected Sprint Cup events added to the mix. Jones has already gotten his baptism in Sprint Cup . Earlier this season, he subbed for Kyle Busch at Kansas, the last of 11 races Busch missed after breaking his right leg and left foot in the season-opening XFINITY Series event at Daytona. Jones filled a relief role for Denny Hamlin at Bristol in April, after Hamlin's neck locked up during a rain delay. And when Matt Kenseth earned a two-race suspension for wrecking Joey Logano on Nov. 1 at Martinsville, Jones was tabbed to replace him. His first laps in a Sprint Cup car were hardly tentative. Behind the wheel of Busch's No. 18 Toyota, he ran consistently in the top 10 before crashing on lap 196 of 267 at Kansas. Subbing for Kenseth at Texas and Phoenix, Jones qualified sixth and seventh, respectively, and finished 12th and 19th against the top stock car drivers in the world. Despite the speed he has shown in the Sprint Cup series, Jones is content to let his career take its course. "Absolutely, I think the XFINITY Series is completely necessary," Jones said. "I have no problem running a year there … as long as need be there. I don't know what the exact career path is for me down the road. "At some point, yeah, I want to race in the Cup series every weekend. I feel like there's a plan in place for that opportunity to arise. And I'll just keep taking what's given to me every week and go out and try to win races."