Buckle Up: NASCAR Championship Drive Returns to Miami Beach
NASCAR Championship Drive is cruising back to Miami Beach. In its second year, the outdoor fan festival and Coca-Cola Racing Family Concert featuring Blake Shelton, which are free to fans, will take place Nov. 17-18 at Lummus Park and officially kick-off Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Launched in 2010 as a thank you to fans, the two-day NASCAR Championship Drive festival revs up for the race weekend with live music, multiple driver appearances, a race hauler parade, and many other activities. New this year is a youth education program targeted to school-aged children in Miami-Dade County.
“The fan response last year made the first-ever NASCAR Championship Drive event on Miami Beach a huge success that we expect to build upon this year,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France of the estimated two-day festival and concert crowd of over 20,000 fans at last year’s inaugural event. “When you combine NASCAR Championship Drive with another thrilling championship finish to the NASCAR season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it’s a fantastic way to celebrate the exciting end to the NASCAR season in a way only South Florida can offer.”
The Coca-Cola Racing Family Concert at NASCAR Championship Drive featuring Blake Shelton, scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Nov. 17, highlights the first day festivities with a live performance by Shelton, reigning CMA “Male Vocalist of the Year” and five-time CMA nominee including a nod for their most prestigious honor, “Entertainer of the Year.” Shelton recently celebrated his fifth consecutive No. 1 hit with “God Gave Me You,” which is off his album Red River Blue. Red River Blue debuted at the top spot of the Billboard’s Country Albums chart and the Billboard 200. Multi-talented musician, writer, producer and performer Hunter Hayes will be the featured guest for the event. Hunter recently released his critically acclaimed Atlantic Records self-titled debut album which debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard Country Charts. Among the many raves from media, Billboard notes Hunter as “a prodigious talent…drawing on modern pop and country sounds – including Keith Urban, John Mayer, Rascal Flatts and Jason Mraz.”
“What better way to culminate an amazing NASCAR season than with an ice-cold Coca-Cola in hand while singing and dancing side-by-side with your family and friends at the Coca-Cola Racing Family Concert on South Beach?” said Sharon Byers, group vice president, marketing assets, Coca-Cola North America.
“We have very unique partners in NASCAR and Coca-Cola who recognize the value in shifting into another gear for Ford Championship Weekend,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matt Becherer. “Miami knows how to host championships, and a live performance on the beach with Blake Shelton amps up an already phenomenal experience for race fans coming to see NASCAR’s 2011 champions crowned. We’re looking forward to getting Ford Championship Weekend started early.”
NASCAR Championship Drive begins mid-day on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Lummus Park, located along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach between 7th and 9th Streets. The first scheduled event is a live press conference at 1 p.m. featuring the remaining NASCAR drivers contending for the three NASCAR national series championships. Broadcast live on SPEED, the NASCAR Championship Contenders Press Conference will be simulcast on a video screen inside Lummus Park for festival attendees and also streamed live on NASCAR.COM.
Following the press conference will be a colorful parade featuring race team haulers from the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, plus other specialty and support vehicles. The parade starts in downtown Miami and travels across the MacArthur Causeway and onto Ocean Drive before ending at Lummus Park.
The second day, Friday, Nov. 18, features NASCAR Youth Fest, a new addition to the event in which several hundred elementary and middle school students from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, plus youth groups from the Boys and Girls Club, and the Police Athletic League, will learn how math, physics, communications, and teamwork are essential to racing success. Youth-oriented programming will include the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge: NASCAR STEM Initiative, Teamwork Pit Stop Challenge, and 3M Visiting Wizards stage show.
Friday evening, the festival area will stay open late and become a NASCAR lounge where the nightlife patrons of Ocean Drive restaurants and clubs can enjoy the sights and sounds of NASCAR under the stars.
Thursday, Nov. 17 (all times are local)
Noon – Festival opens to public
1:00 p.m. – NASCAR Championship Contenders Press Conference
3:15 p.m. – NASCAR hauler parade starting in downtown Miami to Miami Beach
7:00 p.m. – Coca-Cola Racing Family Concert at NASCAR Championship Drive, featuring Blake Shelton
11:00 p.m. – Festival closes
Friday, Nov. 18 (all times are local)
10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – NASCAR Youth Fest
Noon – Festival opens to public
4:00 p.m. – NASCAR Hot and Spicy Cook-off competition
7:00 p.m. – NASCAR race viewing party
10:00 p.m. – Festival closes
For more information, visit www.nascar.com/championshipdrive.
Festival attendees will enjoy driver question-and-answer sessions, contests such as "Fast Lane Trivia," giveaways, and the "NASCAR Hot and Spicy Cook-off" competition featuring chefs representing fire departments throughout Miami-Dade County.
Fans also will be able to drive race car simulators, change tires in a pit crew challenge, test their skills piloting remote-controlled cars, get their photographs taken inside a stock car, view the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Trophy and more through interactive fan areas and displays from a number of official NASCAR partners, including Coca-Cola, Camping World, Chevrolet, Coors Light, Ford, Nationwide Insurance, Sprint and Toyota.
NASCAR Championship Drive was created with the support of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, the Florida Sports Foundation and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.