Q&A: After the Lap host Courtney Hansen
RELATED: After the Lap Sweepstakes One of the year's hottest events, NASCAR After The Lap Sponsored by Ford and Sprint (streaming on NASCAR.com Dec. 3), will be hosted by motorsports TV personalities Courtney Hansen and Rutledge Wood. Hansen recently chatted with NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola to talk about the event, Jeff Gordon and her impressive car collection. Pat DeCola: So, you've got After the Lap coming up. It's always a good time -- you excited? Courtney Hansen : I've done some work with NASCAR and NASCAR.com in the past and of course I'm a huge fan and they know that and I'm good friends with Rutledge Wood. I think NASCAR felt it would be a great fit and I'm thrilled to be taking part in After the Lap -- the most unpredictable time of the year in motorsports. PD: Definitely. It wasn't that long ago that we saw Jeff Gordon break dance, so drivers really tend to be a little relaxed. CH: I love it, I love it. Apparently there's a little bit of alcohol involved so you never know what's going to happen. I think it's really fun for the drivers let loose in that way and get personal in a way that fans never get to see. PD: Exactly; for 36 races a year, things are so tense. Especially when you get to the Chase when things really tighten up. The past few weeks have been especially crazy. CH: They're so wound up and focused all year, they finally get a chance to let loose in Vegas and have fun with their fans. I think it's awesome. PD: You come from a pretty deep racing background. I hear your family even used to own a race track. CH: Yes, we used to own Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota so I grew up there a pit kid and my father (Jerry Hansen ; three career Sprint Cup Series starts) raced Sports Car Club of America and won 27 national SCCA championships so my whole life was just going from one track from the next and spending a whole lot of time at BIR. I've been an enthusiast since I was born and (motorsports) is definitely in my blood. Because of hosting all these automotive shows and working with NASCAR and doing auto show appearances all over the country, I've had the chance to learn so much about cars and see the coolest cars on the planet and get to know a lot of the amazing people in the automotive world. The love just grows stronger and the passion runs deeper every day. It's an addiction for me. PD: Have you done any racing yourself? CH: You know, my parents forbid it. They're both very supportive people and they gave us a lot of love and support over the years but they just steered us away from motorsports. They would let us do anything besides race. Because that was always deterred, I never went that route but my brother did a little bit of racing and my sister was always wanting to race NASCAR. I'm a good driver, though. Whenever somebody sees me drive they say, "Oh, you're actually a woman who can drive and I'm like -- hey now!" But I've test driven cars. I test drove Lamborghinis at Homestead with magazine editors and other things like that. You know, I've driven cars around race tracks, but I've never done professional racing. PD: So you've probably got a killer daily driver then. CH: I've got a couple. I'm all about the American classics. Those are my favorite in the mix. I have a '57 (Ford) Thunderbird with numbers matching the original. I have a '70 (Chevrolet Camaro) Z-28 that is also numbers matching original. I have a '70 (Ford Mustang) Mach 1 that I got from DJ Funk Master Flex. I have yet to pick it up; I'm picking it up in New York on Thanksgiving weekend. I have an Aston Martin DB9 that's like my reliable daily driver when I want to get quickly around Los Angeles. And then I have a baby-friendly SUV ... Range Rover Sport that's super-charged. And then (automotive designer) Chip Foose tricked out a 2004 Thunderbird for me. Now I'm looking for a MOPAR; a MOPAR will round out the equation. PD: Those all sound really cool. I drive a Honda Accord. Did you have a favorite driver growing up? CH: My dad! No, I mean, of course I was young, but I loved Richard Petty. I've always loved Mario Andretti, who's a dear family friend. Dale Earnhardt Jr . ... I totally support him and would love to see him win a championship. My dad was always number one, though. I also loved Paul Newman, the actor. He's a very close family friend and my dad taught him how to race. He actually stayed at our cabin in Minnesota for like 20 years and raced Trans-Am Series with my dad ... I loved watching Paul Newman race and he was a very good racer. PD: Jeff Gordon has a final shot at a fifth championship this Sunday at Homestead. As a long time fan of the sport, what does Gordon mean to you? CH: Absolutely (I'm a fan). Jeff Gordon is a legend in the sport and he has such a huge fan base. It would be amazing to see him go out with a bang and win the championship. I don't think anybody would be disappointed by that. I think it'd be phenomenal to see him win one last championship and go out with a bang. I wish Dale was still in the Chase, of course. He was so close. It was disappointing. I think he's got a championship in his future and he's going to have a killer next season. I like all the drivers so it's hard for me to say I'd like to see one win over the other, but I definitely think the fans would love it and I would love to see Jeff clinch another title before he retires. I interviewed him years ago at Martinsville when I was doing some hosting with NASCAR and he said a quote -- and maybe it's been said before by various people -- but I just loved the way that Jeff said it. I said, "What does it feel like to go 200 mph?" and he said, "The rush isn't about the speed. The rush is when you're faster than everybody else." I loved that he said that. I loved that quote. PD: When you're on the stage hosting After the Lap, that's probably going to be one of the first times where Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth have been forced to interact since their run-in -- do you plan on playing into that at all? CH: I think if the drivers are cool with it -- I imagine they'll both have their opinions and their stance on the topic -- and the fans are definitely going to want to dive into that one ... I'll roll with it. I'll keep it light and fun. I think the job of Rutledge and I is to manage the crowd and interact with the drivers and facilitate the questions in a way that keeps everything lighthearted and fun. Ultimately, that's what it's about. If it starts to get negative or contentious or if there's an energy that's not welcomed in that arena, we'll steer it in a positive direction, but I think it'll definitely be brought up. It's one of the hottest topics of the season.
Festivities set to celebrate Champion's Week
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2015) — As The Championship 4 get ready to race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway , preparations are underway in Las Vegas for annual postseason celebrations honoring the eventual 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Running Dec. 1-4, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week will once again bring together the "who's who" of the racing industry, celebrities and fans for a robust schedule of events featuring the DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, the annual NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, and the star-studded NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. Wynn Las Vegas, the premier resort destination in Las Vegas, will serve as headquarters for NASCAR during the week. This year's events will bring fans closer to their favorite drivers than ever before, featuring special guests and giveaways at The LINQ Promenade, an open-air fan hub offering retail and restaurant options along with the world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller. Fans will also get the chance to watch all 16 Chase drivers take their race cars to the streets for NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco, an annual parade down Las Vegas Boulevard featuring burnouts and pre-event festivities. New to the event this year, NBCSN’s Rutledge Wood and television personality Courtney Hansen will host the fan-favorite driver tell-all, NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford and Sprint. In addition, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will debut a revamped Red Carpet walk offering select fans a chance to see many of their favorite drivers before they enter the Awards. Fans can stop by The LINQ Promenade to check out the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week schedule and learn more about how to secure access to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Red Carpet. NBCSN will broadcast this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the awards show live at 8 p.m. ET. For more information on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, visit www.nascar.com/championsweek . Following is a rundown of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week activities; all times are Pacific time unless otherwise noted . Tuesday, Dec. 1 NASCAR Live: Eli Gold will sit down with the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion to discuss his road to the championship. NASCAR Live will air from inside the Race and Sports Book at Wynn Las Vegas from 4 – 5 p.m. on Motor Racing Network. This event is free to the public. Fans in attendance will have a chance to participate in the live broadcast. Tuesday – Wednesday, Dec. 1 – 2 DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum: Part one of the annual DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal, will bring together industry decision-makers for insights and thought-provoking discussions on the state of motorsports. The event will be held at The Mirage Las Vegas. Media credentials are required and to register click here. Wednesday – Friday, Dec. 2 – 4 Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week fan experience will be anchored in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip – Champion’s Week Live at The LINQ Promenade, the ultimate NASCAR fan headquarters. Open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. each day, fans can purchase merchandise of The Challenger 16 at the NASCAR Superstore, get their photo taken with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy and view The Challenger 16 cars on display. For a full list of activities, fans and media can visit www.nascar.com/championsweek . Wednesday, Dec. 2 Fanfest Presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway : A fan-favorite event, the seventh annual LVMS Fanfest will begin at 2 p.m. at the Fremont Street Experience. This event is free to the public and will consist of a red carpet walk by the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challengers, followed by a special "game show format" event. Select fans may be chosen to participate in an onstage game with the drivers for a chance to win two tickets to the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards held two nights later at Wynn Las Vegas. Thursday, Dec. 3 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will take place from 11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. in the Encore Ballroom at Wynn Las Vegas, where several team and individual awards will be presented. Hosted by FOX Sports personality Mike Joy, the event will be live-streamed on www.NASCAR.com . NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco: Fans can catch their favorite driver during pre-race introductions hosted by FOX Sports reporter Jamie Little at 2:45 p.m. The green flag on the Victory Lap will fly at 3:30 p.m. when the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers parade down Las Vegas Boulevard in their race cars. NASCAR Victory Lap will start in front of the Miracle Mile Shops and finish at The LINQ. For a full list of where each driver will participate in burnouts, fans can visit The LINQ Promenade earlier in the week. The event will be simulcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and www.NASCAR.com . NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford and Sprint: A must-see event, NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Ford and Sprint will take place from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at The Pearl Theater inside Palms Casino Resort. All 16 Chase Challengers will appear on stage and give fans behind-the-scenes info about their lives on and off the track. The event will be simulcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and www.NASCAR.com . Friday, Dec. 4 Championship Year in Review: SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Claire B. Lang will be joined live from 1-3 p.m. by the championship winning driver, owner, crew chief and other crew members in an exclusive two-hour retrospective on their championship-winning season. 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: This black-tie celebration will be held at Wynn Las Vegas, where the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver and owner and the other Chase drivers will be honored. The drivers and stars will walk the Red Carpet from 4 – 5 p.m. NBCSN will broadcast this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the awards show live at 8 p.m. ET. Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide Reveal: The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide will be given to an outstanding volunteer who has made a profound impact on children in his or her community. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the national award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards and donate $100,000 to the winner’s chosen charity. Fans can cast their vote for the 2015 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting www.NASCAR.com/award before 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 3.
Champion's Week offers break from offseason withdrawal
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
NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: TV compound
Courtney Hansen takes an inside look at the logistics behind the NASCAR television compound in this installment of the NASCAR Automotive Technology Series.
NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: Meet The New Car
Courtney Hansen and Jeff Burton explain some of the new features on the Generation Six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car.
NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: Qualifying Oil
Courtney Hansen and Roger Hood talk about the process of getting motor oil ready for qualifying laps.
NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: Electronic fuel injection
Courtney Hansen takes an inside look at electronic fuel injection and how it helps race teams with set up, adjustments and fuel efficiency in this installment of the NASCAR Automotive Technology Series.
NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: Seven-post shaker
Courtney Hansen and Greg Zipadelli discuss the seven-post shaker rig in this weeks installment of the Mobil 1 NASCAR Automotive Technology Series
NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: CNC Machine
Courtney Hansen talks to Stewart-Haas Racing Director of Competition, Greg Zipadelli, about manufacturing parts for the race team
NASCAR Automotive Technology Series: Equipment Enhancements
This NASCAR Automotive Technology Series features Courtney Hansen explaining some of the advances in firesuit and helmet safety through the years of NASCAR.