Tag Archives: NASCAR news

NASCAR in Las Vegas Will Exceed Super Bowl Fan Draw

The many NASCAR driver meet-and-greet events and deafening varooms befitting plenty of exciting dirt track racing action all started yesterday in Las Vegas.  By the time the marquee Sprint Cup Shelby American on Sunday is over, an estimated 300,000 people will have experienced the roar of racing in their ears and smell of gasoline enticing their nostrils.   That’s four times the attendance at the Super Bowl, according to Chris Powell, president of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

For the Sprint Cup race alone – the biggest event of the weekend – in 2009 about 140,000 spectators saw the race.  That’s down from about 152,000 in 2008 and the record attendance of 156,000 in 2007. 

Regardless of the ending attendance figure this year, the significant question is if those people can translate into record spending.  Most Las Vegans are hoping and praying it does, giving their languishing economy a much needed economic bump. 

Out-of-towners hold the key trump card to this weekend’s economic prosperity, comprising 70 percent of the race crowd invading Las Vegas. 

Attempting to lure more tourists to the track than prior years, race ticket prices at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been greatly reduced this year. With more people attending, hopefully, that will translate into more ancilliary spending on goods and services. 

Las Vegas hotels will undoubtedly be the major economic beneficiaries. The recessionary price levels of hotel rooms that have plagued Las Vegas for the past year have virtually disappeared, albeit temporarily. The Riviera, mirroring what most Las Vegas hotels are doing, is jacking their weekend’s room rates to a whopping $224 per night.  But next weekend the Riviera will zoom back down to their customary $79 level. 

Budget hotel are also raising their rates, as well the higher priced Strip hotels, such as Harrah’s that is sold out all weekend, and Wynn Las Vegas and the Hard Rock Hotel, both sold out on Saturday. 

VEGAS.com reports their Web site’s hotel room sales are up 30 percent. 

Rolling up the total revenue picture, excluding gambling revenue, the associated revenues from last year’s NASCAR weekend raked in $107 million, according to the Las Vegas convention and Visitors Authority. 

But that doesn’t come close to 2008 revenue, when the haul was $134 million. Most don’t think this year will equal that level. However, should the heavy rain that is anticipated to blanket Las Vegas intermittently on Saturday postpone Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 race and cause the race to move to Monday, that might be just the silver lining needed to help close the revenue gap, keeping race fans in Las Vegas and extra day or two, perhaps aided in no small part by the dangling carrot of being able to see heartthrob racer Danica Patrick strut her stuff. 

Will this year’s racing events add up to yielding the top revenue producing weekend in Las Vegas?

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NASCAR’s Season-Ending Events in Las Vegas

Well, after nearly three decades of trying, it finally happened:  NASCAR moved its season-ending party to Las Vegas after being in New York.   This week the season-ending NASCAR events will be showcased. 

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson showed his untiring racing mastery throughout they year, garnering first place honors for his efforts.

 Befitting champions aplenty, the Sprint Cup Championship Week will kick off its inaugural visit to Las Vegas on Wed., Dec. 2 with a fan fest and driver roast.

On Dec. 2, NASCAR will host the Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This event includes a free-admission fan event, plus a charity roast of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Gates open at 9 a.m. Access to the speedway’s Neon Garage begins at 11 a.m. This portion of the event includes a red-carpet walk by the champion and the other drivers in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup, car displays, live music, reduced-price concessions and a raffle drawing. 

The Charity Roast will take place in the speedway’s Blackjack Club, located in the infield media center. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. The roast includes a private reception with the Cup champion and Chase participants, plus reserved seats and parking. It will be shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage. 

Because of space considerations, it’s limited to the first 300 people who respond. Cost is a $250 tax-deductible donation to Speedway Children’s Charities. Additional information is available at www.lvms.com

On Dec. 3, the drivers will participate in the Victory Lap Parade. All 12 Chase participants will drive a lap in their show cars on Las Vegas Boulevard known as “The Strip.” This will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino and proceed north to Spring Mountain Road before returning to MGM Grand. It will include a pit stop and a “burnout” at the Spring Mountain Road intersection. 

The week culminates with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 4. Frank Caliendo will host the season-ending roast and banquet on Dec. 4 at Wynn Las Vegas.  As Caliendo puts it: “I’m on the pole, but don’t worry. Even though we’re in Vegas, I’m not dancing.” 

Caliendo, a noted impressionist, was featured in several videos at last year’s awards ceremony. He has appeared at postseason events for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 

Noted singer David Gray and female electric string quartet Escala will also reportedly perform at the banquet. 

Speed will televise the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony live, from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., EST. It will reair from 1-5 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Dec. 5, and from 1-5 p.m., on Sunday, Dec. 6. The awards ceremony is the series champion’s formal celebration.

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Johnny Sauter Wins His First NASCAR Truck Race in Las Vegas

Johnny Sauter raced to his first career NASCAR Trucks Series victory, taking the lead away from Matt Crafton with only 16 laps left and held on to win the Las Vegas 350 on Saturday night. JohnnySauter

Crafton, who took over the lead following a caution period with 26 laps remaining, held on to finish second in the 146-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval. 

“My truck just didn’t have the speed that Johnny Sauter’s did,” said Crafton, second in the standings — 197 points behind leader Ron Hornaday Jr. “Wow, that truck was fast.”

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‘Bad Boy’ NASCAR Racer, Las Vegan Kyle Busch Prays for a Kinder Slap in the Face

Although the brash, daring and yet talented Las Vegan and NASCAR racer Kyle Busch won last Saturday’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, he’s got to really put the pedal to the metal if he wants to move from his 13th place in the point standings to at least 12th place- a requirement necessary to advance into Sprint Cup’s “post-season playoffs” that begin Sept. 20 in New Hampshire. 

To accomplish this rather Herculean feat and become eligible for NASCAR’s 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Championship, Busch will need to place high in the upcoming 500-miler near Atlanta and a 400-lapper at Richmond. 

Kyle may have an inkling of a chance if his finish at Bristol is any indication.  The Joe Gibbs Racing star led the final 68 laps around the half-mile, high-banked track and endured four double-file restarts in the final 60 laps for his fourth win and his first trophy in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series since last May, completing the 500 laps at an 84.820 mph average speed, with a margin of victory of 0.098 seconds over second place finisher Mark Martin. 

Currently, he’s standing 34 points behind 12th-place Matt Kenseth for the last playoff spot.

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