Yes, there really is NASCAR racing in Las Vegas next weekend, Feb. 26-28. (Did you really think it was just an outing to ogle Danica Patrick?)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., though, isn’t getting overly excited about his late charge to a surprise second-place finish at Daytona. After the season-opening Daytona 500, the restrictor plates are now off during the 1½-mile Las Vegas oval track races and the focus is back on the the kind of tracks that dominate the 36-race championship season.
It can be anyone’s race.
Earnhardt said he feels good about his team and crew chief Lance McGrew, who is starting his first full season after replacing Tony Eury Jr. last May and having the interim tag removed by Hendrick in late October. That gave them a whole off-season together to get ready for 2010.
“We built a lot of new cars. We did a lot of hard work, Lance especially, during the off-season to put us in a position to bring better cars to this race and to Vegas and so forth,” Earnhardt said. “Just give me a good car and I can run real good.”
“Everybody in the garage kind of feels like this is the start of the regular season. Daytona is so different than every other kind of racing that we do and of course it’s the Daytona 500,” said Jimmie Johnson, the four-time Sprint Cup champion and California native who has won four times at his home track.
“Everybody is really interested and anxious to understand where we are with the cars,” says Johnson.
The added good news is that even before the entire NASCAR contigent fully descends on Las Vegas next weekend, racing fans will get two opportunities to add a little dirt to their diet as the USAC Sprint and Midget Series and the World of Outlaws Sprint Series come to town.
The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the United States Auto Club (USAC) on Thursday, February 25 and the World of Outlaws the next night for three thrilling A-mains between the two groups of talented drivers.
To keep up your energy while walking endlessly around the track, don’t forget to first eat your fill before heading to the track, stopping by the NASCAR Café inside the Sahara.