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Off-Road Desert Racing comes to the Las Vegas Valley

Hundreds of racers are now busy preparing and testing their off-road race vehicles for the return of the 2010 SNORE/General Tire Mint 400, set to take place just 25 minutes North of Las Vegas on March 27, starting at 7 a.m.  

The Mint 400 is one of the top racing titles to win in off-road racing. 

The race course this year features the infamous Rock Garden, a treacherous section of course run over shale rock beds and small boulders, with ditches and “gotcha’s” strewn throughout. The last time the course ran through the Rock Garden was 23 years ago. 

The SNORE/General Tire Mint 400 will be at the Moapa Indian reservation at the Moapa Travel Plaza, Exit 75 (Valley of Fire Rd.) off of Interstate 15. Three special spectator areas have been set-up alongside the course in high-speed, action-packed areas for fans to view the race. The Moapa tribe will have shuttles running to these areas. There will be numerous food, beer and merchandise vendors set up at the Moapa Travel Plaza.
 
Over 250 entries are expected to enter the SNORE/General Tire Mint 400. 

 The race festivities start Wednesday, March 24 at 5 p.m. with a kick-off party at Hussong’s Cantina inside Mandalay Bay. Thursday March 25th , fans, racers and the Media are invited to be a part of the FanFest Meet & Greet on Fremont Street East (between Las Vegas Blvd and 8th St.) from 6 to 8 p.m. to meet the drivers, get their autographs, take pictures, and pick up some swag from the teams. At 8:30 p.m. on Thurs., March 25, General Tire will crown the 2010 Mint 400 Queen on the 1st Street Stage, located on Fremont Street and 1st Street, under the Fremont Street Experience. Friday, March 26 starting at 9 am and lasting throughout the day until 5:30 p.m., every race car entered in the race will parade down Fremont Street for Technical and Contingency inspection. The parade of race vehicles starts on 1st Street & Fremont Street, heads East under the Fremont Street Experience, crosses Las Vegas Blvd., and ends at 8th Street and Fremont. Saturday, March 27 at 7  a.m., race officials will drop the green flag once again for the start of the historic 25th Running of the 2010 SNORE General Tire Mint 400 off-road race. 

The historic race was started by Norm Johnson, former public relations director for the Del Webb Hotel, and was resurrected by the SNORE (Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts) racing organization just three years ago. 

The 2010 SNORE/General Tire Mint 400 will be televised on the Versus network and set to air May 5, 2010.

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Aging Mike “Ear-Biter” Tyson Throwing Gut Back into Ring? Not yet. He’s PIGEON RACING!

Recent sightings of a slimmed-down Mike Tyson added fuel to reports of a rumored rematch between Tyson and Evander Holyfield. 

Tyson, who hasn’t fought in five years and was known for his paunchy gut as of late, is clearly getting back in shape, losing 50 pounds, according to those who have spotted him taking regular long walks near his Anthem home in Henderson, Nevada. 

When Tyson, now 43, lost to Kevin McBride in 2005, it was his third defeat in four bouts over three years. 

His arch nemesis, Evander Holyfield, 47, has been cleared for a tentative April 17 fight in Las Vegas against Frans Botha.

Promoter Don King, likely wanting to keep his trump card, is trying to squash news that a Tyson-Holyfield fight reunion is not true.

But while biding his time for this to occur, we’ve learned that the eccentric one will soon star in an Animal Planet series that will feature — are you sitting down? — pigeon racing.

The show, titled “Taking on Tyson”, will showcase amateur pigeon racer Tyson against “serious competitors.”   

We’ve all known that Tyson has  bats aplenty in his belfry, but many probably are not aware that Tyson has apparently also raised pigeons all his life — squab anyone? — but is just now getting into the glamorous world of racing them.  (Hopefully, he won’t toss them around in their cages.) 

The show is on track to be taped this spring in New York City and will air early next year.

“Tyson’s passion for his pigeons takes my breath away,” says Animal Planet Media President Marjorie Kaplan.

If you’d like to bone up on your knowledge of this parlor sport, Las Vegas Backstage Access suggests visiting the American Racing Pigeon Union Web site, where you will find all you need to know- and probably lots you wish you never read.

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First Tiger Woods’ Mistress Rachel Uchitel Moves to Las Vegas to Restart Career

Rachel Uchitel, the VIP hostess with the mostest, whose alleged affair with golfing icon Tiger Woods was the flashpoint of the recent epic scandal, has apparently moved to Las Vegas to restart her career. 

Uchitel has moved into a Turnberry Place tower in Las Vegas where she purchased a ground-floor unit for $820,000 in 2006. 

Recent reports have Uchitel, who worked the velvet ropes for clubs in Las Vegas, New York and Southhampton, N.Y., getting involved now in the entertainment television field. She reportedly has been offered a job as a nightlife reporter with “Extra,” the nationally syndicated entertainment television show. 

Sources at Turnberry Place say she has leased her 1,556-square-foot luxury condo and is renting a nearby unit. Uchitel recently pulled her ground-floor unit at Turnberry Place off the market. Vegas Confidential reported in December that she had listed the property at $1.35 million. 

Uchitel formerly worked at Tao nightclub in Las Vegas but had a falling out well before she was linked to Woods. 

Uchitel was the first of about 20 or so mistresses to surface in the Woods scandal that broke during Thanksgiving weekend.

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Jimmie Johnson Wins NASCAR Shelby American in Las Vegas

Four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving the No. 48 Lowes car, cheered on by an almost sell out crowd, won his second-straight race Sunday, as he took the checker flag in the 2010 Shelby American from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com gave Johnson 9/2 odds to win the Shelby American, meaning a bet of $100 on Johnson paid out $450. 

A late pass of teammate Jeff Gordon led to Johnson’s victory, as he led just 18 laps in the race while Gordon led 219. 

Kevin Harvick finished second as he also slipped past Gordon late while Gordon finished third, Mark Martin took fourth and Matt Kenseth was fifth. 

Kyle Busch, the pole sitter, came in 15th place and led one lap. 

Johnson moves up to fifth in the standings while Harvick maintains his spot in first place, 47 points ahead of Clint Bowyer.

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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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Danica Patrick, NASCAR, Sprint Cars & Food Mix in Glorious Las Vegas Weekend

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.

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Las Vegas NASCAR Complete Schedule

Everywhere you look this week it’s NASCAR all over Las Vegas. Here’s the definitive NASCAR meet and greet schedule: 

First, click here for the complete schedule for what’s happening at NASCAR only at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Next, here are the sequential driver events occuring BEFORE the Las Vegas NASCAR events:

Thurs., Feb. 25  

Noon – Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Michael Waltrip, crew chief Pat Tryson at Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino. Spectator admission is free; $225 to play. 

2-4 p.m. – Raybestos Rookie drivers Terry Cook and Kevin Conway (and others TBA) from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will participate in a cooking competition at the ESPN Zone in the New York New York Hotel & Casino. 

4-6 p.m. – Tony Stewart at Office Depot, 1435 W. Craig Road 

4 p.m. – Brad Keselowski at Discount Tire, 6565 E. Lake Mead Blvd. 

4 p.m. – Dale Earnhardt Foundation Poker Tournament, Stratosphere Hotel & Casino: Kerry Earnhardt, Kenny Wallace, Kirk Shelmerdine, Casey Mears, Matt Crafton, Regan Smith, Aric Almirola, Eric McClure, Todd Bodine, Mike Bliss, Scott Lagasse Jr, Andy Ponstein, Danny Efland and car owner Tommy Baldwin. Spectator tickets are $20. 

5 p.m. – Sam’s Town Live! inside Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall – 12th annual AutoTrader.com NASCAR Driver Auction. Drivers scheduled to appear include: Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte, David Ragan and Kyle Petty. Event also includes silent auction, appearance by Home Improvement TV star Mickey Jones and music by Skid Rodeo. Admission is $20. 

5:30 p.m. – Kasey Kahne at PT’s Pub, Interstate 215 at Decatur Blvd.   

6 p.m. – Kurt Busch at Pole Position Raceway, 4175 S. Arville 

6:30-8:30 p.m. – Kyle Busch at M&M’s World on Las Vegas Blvd. 

6:30-7:30 p.m. – David Reutimann at NASCAR Café at Sahara Hotel & Casino 

8-9 p.m. – Trevor Bayne at NASCAR Café at Sahara Hotel & Casino 

FRIDAY, FEB. 26  

7-9 p.m. – Bobby Labonte, Terry Cook at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino 

7-7:30 p.m. – Trevor Bayne at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

7:30-8 p.m. – Michael McDowell at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

8:15-9:15 p.m. – Kurt Busch at Indigo Lounge in Bally’s Hotel & Casino 

Show cars only:

Friday, Feb. 26
10 a.m.-5 p.m. – Joey Logano’s No. 20 at Home Depot at Lamb Blvd. at E. Charleston 

SAT., FEB. 27  

5 p.m. – Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman at Lagasse’s Stadium in the Venetian Hotel & Casino. Stewart will be honored as part of The Venetian and The Palazzo’s Legends of the Sport series. An $89 package is available for purchase which includes premium seating in Lagasse’s Stadium for the Q&A session, meet-and-greet with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, and autographed photo by both drivers. 

5:30-6 p.m. – Marcos Ambrose at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

Race Tickets 

Tickets for the Feb. 28 Shelby American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Feb. 27 Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event and the fabulous Neon Garage fan experience may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.

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