Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, left, shakes hands with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart
Getty Images for NASCAR
Transcript: Sprint CEO Dan Hesse from 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet:
Good evening. I agree with many of you. This was the best Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ever. Congratulations to all of the drivers and teams who contributed to the excitement of this amazing series. Your passion for the sport and commitment to excellence continue to "wow" us. I am privileged to be among those recognizing Tony Stewart and the number 14 team for their third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship - joining the ranks of legendary drivers Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Lee Petty, who all hold three Cup titles. Tony's down-to-the-last second duel with Carl Edwards was a stunning example of the competitive spirit that drives the sport and why we love NASCAR.
Tony would not be here without the exceptional support of the Stewart-Haas Racing organization, including co-owner, Gene Haas, crew chief Darian Grubb, and other number 14 crew members here tonight.
Tony, on behalf of Sprint, I want to thank you for everything you do to support our brand. You deliver value to your sponsors, which is evident in the great relationships you and your team share with Chevy, Office Depot and Mobil 1. Of course, tonight would not be possible without the resolute leadership of NASCAR. They have made a number of bold changes over the past 18 months, from adding Chase "wild card" spots, to revising the points system, to allowing NASCAR drivers to BE NASCAR drivers. This leadership creates an environment that allows the best drivers, crew members and engineers in the world to deliver racing excitement that captivates us every week.
So, I could not be more pleased than to announce and celebrate tonight, that Sprint and NASCAR have agreed to an extension of our relationship, ensuring that through at least the 2016 season, every Champion crowned will be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion. I would like to wish everyone in the audience, and watching at home, a very happy and safe holiday season. And Tony, I have a gift for you - one that should make your holiday brighter. On behalf of everyone at Sprint, I am proud to present this check for $5.8 million to our 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Tony Stewart. NASCAR
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