Whether NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are smarter than fifth graders remains a matter of debate after Wednesday's Las Vegas Motor Speedway-sponsored Fanfest at the Fremont Street Experience. But the event, a highlight on day two of Champion's Week in Las Vegas, was proof that the 12 qualifiers for this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup enjoy a good laugh – especially at their own expense – and the opportunity to mingle with hundreds of NASCAR fans young and old.
Only Martin Truex Jr. was willing, beforehand, to admit to being smarter than the fifth graders from Nellis Air Force Base's Lomie Heard Elementary School. That turned out to be the wrong decision as neither he nor Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Clint Bowyer were able to supply the winning answers to various math questions, the length of the regular term of a U.S. Senator and the name of the line that separates the earth's top and bottom halves.
Stump the drivers, then, might have been the most descriptive title for the hour's worth of fun, hosted by Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon and former Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year Kevin Burke, who plies his comic trade at Fremont Street Experience's Fitzgeralds Hotel and Casino.
“We drive cars for a reason,” observed Kevin Harvick after one wrong response, possibly speaking for each of his 11 colleagues.
In the end, the winners were Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart, current and former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions. Stewart supplied the correct answer – after giving Burke the opening to comment on the driver's ample midsection.
“You've still got your washboard stomach,” Burke told the three-time champion. “You're just carrying a load of laundry on it.”
Keselowski joined the fun by lifting the team's fifth grader overhead, trophy-style.
Also honored on Wednesday were this year's finalists for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award – Ron Eby, Michael Jackson, Ali McDonough and Lorri Shealy Unumb – at an evening reception at Wynn Las Vegas. The NASCAR Foundation will announce the Award winner during this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, Nov. 30. Fans can cast their vote to determine the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting NASCAR.com/award before midnight on Thursday.