NASCAR cancels Cup awards banquet in Nashville due to COVID-19


The 2020 NASCAR Champion’s Week and NASCAR Cup Awards Banquet in Nashville has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, per an announcement Monday by NASCAR.

The banquet, which was televised last year on NBCSN, moved to Nashville last year after a 10-year run in Las Vegas, and before that was held for more than 20 years in New York City.

NASCAR said it plans to honor the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champions in some type of manner “at the end of the season with more details to come.”

The Champion’s Week and Awards Banquet are where the Cup Series champion is celebrated and where the industry holds a series of meetings. Last year’s banquet was also where the idea of NASCAR returning to Nashville Superspeedway in 2021 first was proposed.

The joint Xfinity and Truck Series awards banquet was held last year in Charlotte.

NASCAR also said in its statement “we look forward to returning to Nashville in 2021” for the Champion’s Week and Cup Awards Banquet.

Here is the statement released by NASCAR on social media:

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Nashville will be new home of NASCAR Cup Awards Ceremony

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After a 10-year run in Las Vegas, the NASCAR Cup Awards Ceremony is moving to the city nicknamed “Nash Vegas.”

NASCAR announced Wednesday that its 2019 postseason awards gala will be in Nashville, Tennessee. The show will be held Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Music City Center in downtown Nashville and televised on NBCSN.

“This year, we set a course to look at everything we do through a different lens, including how we celebrate the champions of our sport,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps told “Nashville’s energy, vibrant entertainment scene, and deep-rooted lineage in motorsports informed our decision and we believe our fans and industry will embrace the move to the Music City.”

The postseason awards had been held in Las Vegas since 2009. That followed a 28-year run in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria, host of the first awards ceremony for Cup in 1981.

NASCAR’s Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series awards ceremonies will remain in North Carolina at the Charlotte Convention Center. Those events will be held Friday, Nov. 22 (on the weekend between NASCAR’s season finale in Miami and Thanksgiving).

Other Champion’s Week events will be announced at a later date, but NASCAR is touting that “fans should expect to have more access than ever.”

Nashville already has been in the news with NASCAR over the past year as Speedway Motorsports Inc. has explored the concept of promoting a race at Fairgrounds Speedway, which played host to 42 Cup races from 1958-84.

“Nashville’s history with NASCAR is indisputable, and coupled with our event experience we are a perfect match for NASCAR Champions Week,” Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming NASCAR back home to Music City.”

NASCAR visits Tennesse twice annually for its race weekends at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“From the ‘Birthplace of Country Music’ in Bristol to the home of country music in Nashville, we join all Tennesseans in welcoming the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards Ceremony to the Volunteer State,” Bristol Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Caldwell said in a release from the track. “Music City never misses a beat when hosting high-profile events, and every race fan will want to join in when the stars of NASCAR roar into town for this season-ending celebration.”

Cup Awards banquet could be held in Nashville

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The NASCAR Cup Series Awards banquets could have a new home in the future with a move from Las Vegas to Nashville, Tennessee, NBC Sports has confirmed.

Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, confirmed discussions are taking place between the organization and NASCAR to host the event.

“I can confirm that we have been talking (about) and pursuing this event for quite some time,” Spyridon said in a statement. “We do not have any signed agreements at this time. We can only hope the speculation is accurate.”

The negotiations were first reported by the Sport Business Journal.

The banquet, which honors the Cup champion and the top finishers in the playoffs, has been held in Las Vegas since 2009. Last year it was held Nov. 29 at the Wynn Hotel.

“Las Vegas has a great partnership with NASCAR and we have been thrilled to host the awards banquet for the past 10 years,” the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said in a statement to NBC Sports. “We look forward to hosting our two triple-header race weekends this year and would be happy to host the banquet again if NASCAR decides to bring it back here.”

The possible relocation to Nashville comes at the same time that NASCAR could be preparing a return to racing in the city.

In December, Bristol Motor Speedway and Formosa Productions reached a deal to explore the option of bringing NASCAR racing back to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

The deal needs to be approved by Nashville’s Metro Board of Fair Commissioners. The board is scheduled to meet today. Its agenda lists an “Update on Discussions with Formosa Productions and Speedway Motorsports Inc.”