This entire post is dedicated to the photo below of me with Carl Edwards. It is quite possibly the greatest photo ever taken in the history of photography. I’m probably a wee bit biased but it was seriously THE highlight of my trip to Vegas for Champion’s Week and it happened on my first night in town.

Carl Edwards with The Fast and the Fabulous writer Valli Hilaire (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

I arrived on Wednesday in the afternoon which meant that I missed the charity roast of Jimmie Johnson that took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I got a cab from the airport and went straight over to the Wynn to pick up my media credentials and then over to Harrah’s to check-in.

Then I went up to my room, quickly changed clothes and headed over to Delmonico Steakhouse located inside the Venetian for the NASCAR Evening Series with Chef Emeril Lagasse. Emeril owns Delmonico and was a great host, mingling with all of the guests. He’s a lot shorter than I’d imagined.

Emeril's Pit Stop Slider... Yummy! on TwitpicThere were various stations of food and drinks. I loved all of the food that I tried, except the foie gras, I am not a duck liver person I guess. My favorite yummy morsel of all was Emeril’s Pit Stop Slider, these little cheeseburgers that you got to setup however you wanted with pickles, lettuce, onions, ketchup, and mustard. They were melt-in-your-mouth good!

Emeril’s signature drink for the night was the Burnout Breeze Cocktail. Let me tell you, it’s a great drink! I loved it, so much so that I had two of them, or was it three? Whatever. It was a mix of Crown Royal and an orange/passion fruit juice concoction. Luckily there were little cards on all the tables that had the recipe for the drink printed on them. I’m sharing the recipe with you guys (see below) because it’s too good not to and now you’ll have a fabulous NASCAR cocktail to make at your next holiday party.

I think pretty much all of the NASCAR big wigs were in the room, we’re talking about NASCAR president Mike Helton, ISC president Lesa France Kennedy, and Marcus Smith, the president and CEO of SMI and president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. NASCAR drivers on hand that I saw were Kurt Busch and his wife, Eva, Jimmie & Chandra Johnson, Mark Martin and his son Matt, and crew chief Kenny Francis.

For dessert there was a table setup full of cookies, mini pastries and cupcakes. You know I had to try the cupcakes, when I asked the waiter manning the table what flavor they were I almost gasped when he said red velvet. I have a serious red velvet problem. They were decorated with the number of the top-12 drivers so I picked up Denny Hamlin’s no. 11 to enjoy back at my room. (My formal review of the cupcakes was that Emeril has a little work to do on his baking, because in my opinion Sprinkles does a way better job. hehe)

And now the story behind the Carl Edwards photo. There’s not much to say except that I had seen him take a photo with someone else, and so I figured he was fair game. We weren’t at a track, nobody was on duty or anything so with the help of a friend we asked if I could get a photo with him and he said sure. That was it; I didn’t talk to him or introduce myself. He had to leave right after that. But that’s cool, I have the photo and it is awesome! It will probably be my Christmas card for the next 10 years.

The entire trip to Vegas was a lot of fun. I did a lot of stuff and met a lot of great people. I have to say that I am truly grateful and appreciative of NASCAR for inviting me to be a part of all of the festivities. The whole experience made me even more determined to be at Daytona in February but we’ll see. I want to be anywhere NASCAR is.


1 oz. Crown Royal
1 oz. Aperol
1/2 oz. Pomegranate Syrup
1 1/2 oz. Passion Fruit / Orange Juice blend (recipe below)

Passion Fruit / Orange Juice Blend
(total 5 parts)
3 parts Perfect Puree of Napa Valley Passion Fruit Puree
1 part simple syrup
1 part orange juice

Pour all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
Shake well and garnish with a Bruleed Kumquat.


Delmonico Cupcakes


Pretty centerpiece!


The back of Kurt and Eva Busch with Emeril Lagasse and Chandra Johnson

All photos credit: The Fast and the Fabulous