Florida Governor Jeb Bush proclaims NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship Week

Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig participated in a special ceremony in the state capitol on Tuesday as Florida Governor Jeb Bush officially declared Nov. 14-20, "NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Week in the State of Florida," on Tuesday.

Left to right: NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell, Rusty Wallace, ISC President Lesa France Kennedy, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Charles Bronson, Kasey Kahne, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, current Florida Attorney General and Governor-elect Charlie Crist and Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig pose for a photo in the Cabinet room at the Florida State Capitol with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

The proclamation, which precedes Sunday's season-finale event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, was issued during the governor's weekly Cabinet Meeting at the state capitol. In attendance were Lesa Kennedy, President, International Speedway Corporation; Steve O'Donnell, Vice President of Racing Operations, NASCAR; Braig, Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, and Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), one of the 10 drivers in the 2006 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and the series leader with six victories this season.

Citing NASCAR¿s 75 million fans and Tuesday¿s presence of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series trophy in the Cabinet Meeting room, Bush said, "the exciting part of it is that it certainly proves that it¿s Championship Week."

"This is an exciting week for NASCAR and this helps get the week off and running in grand style," Kennedy said. ¿We are truly honored.¿

¿This week gets bigger each year and Florida officially recognizing NASCAR Championship week is yet another step in making this the biggest event of the year,¿ Wallace said. ¿I appreciate what Governor Jeb Bush has done for NASCAR and it was an honor to be recognized as a past champion.¿

¿It was an honor to meet Governor Bush,¿ Kahne said, ¿especially given the fact that I serve on President Bush¿s Council on Service and Civil Participation. Not only is Governor Bush a big supporter of NASCAR racing in Florida, but he also has been a tremendous advocate of volunteerism.¿

Prior to the Cabinet Meeting - under cool, blue Florida skies - the drivers, Governor Bush, Kennedy, O¿Donnell and Braig assembled for a commemorative photo behind the west portico of the historic Old Capitol building. Also joining the group for the photo were Cabinet members Tom Gallagher, Chief Financial Officer, and Charles H. Bronson, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. State Attorney General Charlie Crist, Florida¿s governor-elect, participated with the group in a second commemorative photo in the Cabinet Meeting room.

Following this weekend¿s season-ending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup finale at HMS, the next NASCAR event on the calendar will be the prestigious season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18. Jimmie Johnson, currently the points leader, will be gunning for his second straight victory in ¿The Great American Race.¿

For tickets, log on to www.racetickets.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.