Daily Archives: May 24, 2009

Red & Pink Gods Shine Down on Southern Nevada at Indy 500 Race

Victory was sweet today for Indy 500 racer Helio Castroneves.  Earlier in the week he faced down and won against the IRS in court, returned to Indy Car racing in a flash, won the pole position for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, and helped his Roger Penske teamates to a rousing victory in the pitstop competition.  Then, for the ultimate coup de grace, Castroneves went on to win today the 93rd Brickyard race by a 1.9819 second margin over runner-up Dan Wheldon and third-place finisher Danica Patrick on the 2.5-mile oval track. 

Castroneves is no doubt savoring the rare racing air, adding a third Indy 500 victory to his illustrious career, reaching a status that only eight other racers have reached.   And team owner Roger Penske is probably racing to another planet with the win being his fifteenth victory at the Speedway’s premier race. 

But let’s not lose sight of our good Southern Nevada performances in the race. 

Despite the race having five yellow flags and horrendous crashes, thirty-six year old Canadian Alex “Tag” Tagliani, who lives in Las Vegas, officially driving as a rookie for Conquest Racing in All Sport/Big Red car No. 36, achieved the honor of being the best-placing first-year man with his eleventh place finish.   

Tag has a long history of competition in the former CART series and was very fortunate to get the nod by Conquest to race, bumping fellow teammate Bruno Junqueira that really had the best qualifying time, but was not their prime racer. 

Talking at Saturday’s public press conference, Tagliani said, “I was so excited to drive that I didn’t really understand what I was missing by not being in the Indianapolis 500 race. Everything came along last year. Obviously, the two series merged, we have now just one open-wheel series. I finished the season with Conquest. That got me to run with them this year. When we arrived here in Indy, I definitely didn’t realize how big this race was.” 

Not to be outdone, fellow rookie Englishman Alex Lloyd, aka Pink Lloyd, racing the pink car No. 99 sponsored by HER (Healthy Energy Revitalizer, an energy drink for women) started in the middle of the fourth row with an impressive four-lap average qualifying speed of 222.622 mph, and went on to finish the race, finishing 13th. 

Lloyd’s car owner is Sam Schmidt from Henderson, Nevada. 

Only three other rookies finished this year’s Indy 500 race:  Tomas Scheckter, 12th place; Scott Sharp, 14th place; and Ryan Briscoe, 15th place. 

Both Tagliani and Lloyd finished ahead of many veteran race car drivers including A.J. Foyt IV and John Andretti. 

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries among drivers or crew in the race, although racer Vitor Meira was transported alert and awake to Indianapolis Methodist Hospital for further evaluation of back pain and released. 

The Indy Car series takes no break this week before returning to action this weekend at the famous Milwaukee Mile on June 1st.

(Prior Las Vegas Backstage Access articles on the Indy 500 race.)

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Want to meet President Obama in Las Vegas?

How does meeting President Obama sound? Have you ever wanted to create a great campaign slogan? Now is your chance to do both. 

On May 26th, President Obama, Rachel Yamagata, Rita Rudner, Sheryl Crow, and Bette Midler will be honoring Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid at a tribute event at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.  A limited number of seats are still available for $250, $125, and $50. 

Nevada residents who purchase tickets and submit their idea for a 2010 campaign slogan for Harry Reid by 11:59 PM Saturday, May 23rd (including those who have already purchased tickets) will be automatically eligible to win a pass to a very special backstage reception with President Obama, Senator Reid, and special guests.  Reid’s campaign manager, Brandon Hall, will judge one original campaign slogan submission to receive a pass to the backstage reception. 

Click here to purchase your seats and submit your idea for a 2010 Harry Reid campaign slogan to be automatically entered in the contest for a pass to the special backstage reception. 

To bypass the slogan submission form, and simply purchase tickets to the event, click here.

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Indy 500 Features Las Vegan Alex Tagliani

Alex Tagliani didn’t really officially qualify for the Indianapolis 500 race, with a qualifying time four-hundredths of a second off the pace, being bumped out of the race by a faster car in the last turn of the last qualifying lap of the last qualifying session.  AlexTagliani

Athough Tagliani didn’t make the original field of 33 for the Indy 500, his Conquest Racing team put in a backup car driven by part-time teammate Bruno Junqueira, who joined the team a week ago, and qualified for the field with just a few laps of practice. 

So, since Tagliani is Conquest’s primary driver, he got the starting nod, bumping out Junqueria.  But Tagliani said both he and Junqueira should be in the race.  It was a fluke he didn’t make the field, said Tagliani.  He agreed the team made a bad call in pulling his car out of line. 

Tagliani moved to Las Vegas in 2000, with his Australian wife, Bronte, and own a $1.6 million condominium at One Queensridge Place in Summerlin.  

Tagliani, called ‘Tag’ by racers, has been racing cars since he could see over the steering wheel, but is considered a rookie at Indianapolis and is not predicted to finish in the money.

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Can’t make it to Las Vegas to watch the World Series of Poker?

Can’t make it next week to Las Vegas to watch the World Series of Poker?  That’s not a problem according to WSOP officials. Twenty-four of the final tables for the 40th Annual WSOP will be streamed live via the Internet. 

Click on the following link to view the online poker schedule:

http://www.pokerlistings.com/select-wsop-final-tables-to-stream-live-online-41326

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