IRL Awards Banquet moves to South Beach

The stars of the IndyCar® Series and Firestone Indy Lights® will cap off the 2009 season by celebrating at one of South Beach's newest hot spots and most exclusive resorts, W Hotel South Beach. The 2009 Championship Celebration will take place Oct. 11 following the season championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10.

The championship festivities at the W South Beach, which held its grand opening earlier this month, will be held beachside under the stars at Grove, the hotel's expansive lush outdoor garden and WET, the location of two dramatic pools overlooking the ocean. The 2009 Championship Celebration's theme is casual beach flair, inspired by the style of trendy South Beach. The evening will be highlighted by the presentation of the IndyCar Series Championship Cup and $1 million bonus to the IndyCar Series championship-winning team and driver as well as the championship-winning Firestone Indy Lights team and driver.

"W South Beach is a first-class resort and will be an outstanding venue to celebrate our champions," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League. "The spectacular resort's style and location in the heart of South Beach will set the perfect scene to reflect back on our exciting 2009 IndyCar Series season."

South Beach will be the eighth city the Indy Racing League Championship Celebration has visited since 2000, when the champion was crowned at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis, home of the Indy Racing League corporate office. The following year the celebration took place at The Speedway Club in Fort Worth, Texas, while the 2003 event was staged at the House of Blues in Chicago. Disney's Epcot Center and the cruise ship Disney Wonder hosted the Championship Celebration in 2003 and '04, respectively, and Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. was the site in 2005. In 2006 and '07, the Championship Celebration has taken place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while 2008 saw the Championship Celebration travel to Las Vegas where it was held at The Palms resort.

Drivers, teams and sponsors who will enjoy the beautiful beachside scenery offered by W South Beach can follow the celebration by a visit to Wall, W South Beach's exclusive nightclub, pioneered by the nightclub giants who own celebrity hang-out Mokai, SET, Mansion and Opium, among others.

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