Tag Archives: Sprint Cup

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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‘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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NASCAR Award Ceremonies Planned for Las Vegas

Although some minor details need to be ironed out, it’s almost a done deal that Las Vegas will be the new home to the NASCAR Sprint Cup banquet, awards ceremonies and postseason celebrations in the first week of December, most likely December 4. nascarawards

The event honors the top 10 NASCAR drivers from the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. 

A major event acquisition coup for Las Vegas,  for the past 27 years the prestigious event was held in New York City. 

Planning has been in the works for the past two years by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) president Rossi Ralenkotter and his team.  Speedway Motorsports Inc., owner of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, has lobbied for the event. 

The LVCVA would reportedly pay NASCAR between $500,000 and $1 million for each year of the contract, which may be for three to five years. 

NASCAR would be the second major professional sport to shift its awards ceremony to Las Vegas this year.  Ralenkotter negotiated a three-year deal to bring the NHL awards to the Palms Casino & Hotel on June 18.

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Las Vegas Native Kyle Busch Wins NASCAR Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

For any athlete it’s a dream come true when they have a major win in their hometown.  On Sunday the dream came true for 23-year-old NASCAR racer and Las Vegas native Kyle Busch when he celebrated his first win in six career Sprint Cup starts at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, racing to victory in his Toyota No. 18, sponsored by M&M’s. 

Busch performed his feat with gusto and racing mastery.  Racing before a near capacity 140,000 fervent fans at the speedway, he started deeper in the 43-car field than any of the event’s previous 12 winners. 

“I tell you what, this is pretty cool,” the Durango High School graduate said.  “I don’t exactly what it would mean but coming to the checkered flag, there were knots in my stomach.  It’s bigger than winning the Daytona 500.” 

After winning the race, Busch kneeled at the finishing line and kissed the track.

 It was Busch’s first Cup win of the season, and the 12th in 153 races.

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