For the third straight year in a row, NASCAR hosted their “Sprint After the Lap” event on Thursday night as part of Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. Known as the “tell all event”, the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series drivers share stories and jokes with each other in front of the fans. This year marked another successful night as jokes were spread throughout the night.
Here are some of the highlights in case you missed it:
Rodney Childers originally didn’t want to move to Stewart-Haas Racing to crew chief for Kevin Harvick at first due to comfort with current driver/team, in working at Michael Waltrip Racing with the No. 55 team. “It just came down to a lot of conversations with Kevin and agreeing that we wanted to win a championship,” he recalled. “Luckily it came together and we did it.”
Kyle Busch quipped that it’d be better if Jamie Little hosted versus Marty Smith as she’s better to look at.
Smith opened up the event with the question “What was your welcome to NASCAR moment?”, in which Matt Kenseth replied, “Didn’t we do that last year?” Kenseth is telling the truth, by the way. Despite a repeat question, some drivers were set to answer the question – like Denny Hamlin. As Hamlin said, “I wasn’t here last year – thanks Joey”, referencing his wreck at Auto Club Speedway with Joey Logano that resulted in Hamlin breaking his back and missing the Chase. Logano then responded, “Like how they sat us cross from each other?” as each were placed at opposite ends of the couch. Jeff Gordon then quipped, “So are you going to put Brad up there?”, pointing to the top of the sign, as he referenced the number of fights that Brad Keselowski got into over the course of the season. Hamlin recalled his welcome to NASCAR moment, though, saying it was being lectured by Tony Stewart in the garage after side drafting eight laps into practice.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s welcome moment was when he raced his dad in Japan. The pair made contact late in the race and Earnhardt Jr. ended up finishing in front of his father. “We stole a set of tires and ran him into wall and he was mad.” The result was his dad chucking a shoe at him across a small trailer, that missed him and put a hole in the wall.
Hamlin also had fun with Keselowski, too, saying that they should ask Keselowski for his welcome to NASCAR moment. “Probably when he was upside down at Atlanta,” Hamlin explained. Carl Edwards, who got into Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway to cause that, then goes, “That made the safety briefing odd this year” as they showed a slow replay of the wreck.
A bunch of jabs were thrown Keselowski’s way throughout the event. Logano was asked about working with Keselowski as a teammate – in which he said it was a good experience. Gordon commented, “That’s the most political correct statement that I’ve ever heard.” Logano then added, “I haven’t wanted to kick his ass yet. He hasn’t pissed me off yet.”
Kyle Busch shared a bunch of quirps throughout the event, in which Harvick commented, “Kyle is happy that they boo Brad more than him,” in which Busch responded, “I feel like Dale Jr.”
By the way, Keselowski said his season was one word – “eventful.”
Throughout the event, beyond picking on Keselowski, they also picked on Gordon’s age in referencing how each of the young drivers looked at him as a hero, and the fact this year’s Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson wasn’t born with Gordon started.
If you’re in trouble with the law, call Earnhardt Jr. – or at least that’s the advice from Gordon. Gordon was on the phone when he got pulled over for speeding. He asked the cop if he was an Earnhardt Jr. fan, and proceeded to let the cop have a phone convo with Earnhardt. Gordon was able to drive off without a ticket. Earnhardt, though, knows what its like to get a speeding ticket as he got one at the age of 16. He and his dad “got into an argument and I went driving off, passed by a cop five miles up the road. He (dad) drove by and parked into a the gas station. He asked if I got a ticket – I said yes – and he told me to get a job.” Earnhardt Jr.’s first job was working at a gas station.
Before they became racecar drivers, the drivers had regular jobs. Kurt Busch was a plumber that made “five bucks an hour and had to show up at five” while Kasey Kahne cut grass for 10 bucks an hour. AJ Allmendinger worked at a jet ski shop while Ryan Newman worked as a shop cleaner for his dad. Newman recalled when his dad did ask him to change tires for a customer – but Newman messed that up as he put the lugs on backwards. Keselowski worked at cleaning motorhomes for his dad. Marty Smith then asked Gordon if he’d let Keselowski clean his, in which Gordon responded, “I’d make him start on the bottom.”