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Las Vegas, NV (Mar, 2014) Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) are work, but lots of fun for the fans. The work starts early in the week when the drivers and their cars parade down the Las Vegas strip on their way to the track. Friday is qualifying and practice and a free day for the fans at the LVMS. Fans can sit in the stands and watch qualifying and practice, and visit the Neon garage for free on Friday. Tickets are required for Saturday and Sunday races.
From the moment the drivers arrive they are scheduled for interviews and special appearances, and some drivers support the NASCAR Children’s Charities auction on the Thursday before race weekend. The action begins on Friday with Sprint Cup qualifying, practice, and of course a lot of preporation in the garage area . Lots of work but great fun for the fans who visit the Neon Garage. Located in the center of the infield, fans can watch the drivers and their crews work on the cars from ground and elevated levels. Windows separate fans from the garage area but there’s an opening where drivers sign autographs when time allows. Entertainment, concession stands, and Victory Lane are located in the Neon Garage.
If you are a race fan with a garage and pit road pass, you can see the cars and drivers up close; it’s an experience you won’t forget. The crew prepares the pit area with attention to the smallest detail, like gluing on the lug nuts allowing for faster tire changes during the race, and marking the pit area with tape, where the driver knows where to stop when coming into his pit stall. The behind the scenes work not seen by the fans are the media rooms and areas assigned for the entertainers and VIPS. At LVMS, there are showgirls, celebrity impersonators, and military guests from Nellis Air Force Base located just a few miles from the track.
After all the work and preparation the raceing began on Saturday with the Nationwide Series Eighteenth Annual Boyd Gaming 300 race. The Coors Light Pole winner was Ty Dillon, age 22, driving the No. 3 VF/Jiffy Lube Chevrolet. This was Ty Dillon’s first pole in 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. The 200 lap race was won by Brad Keselowski, driving the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford, after taking the lead from Kyle Bush on lap 163. Brad led all remaining laps for his first victory at LVMS. Kyle Busch, driving the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota, finished second. Kyle Larson, driving the No. 42 Cartwheel Chevrolet, finished third followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving the No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, finishing fourth. Chase Elliott, in the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, finishes fifth.
Joey Logano won the pole with a speed of 193.278 MPH to start the Seventeenth Annual Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup race. He broke Kasey Kahne’s speed record from two years ago for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 race. The top two qualifying spots both went to the Penske team with Brad Kaselowski starting from the second position. The 400 lap race was won by Brad Keselowski, driving the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving the No. 88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet, ran out of gas on the final lap and finished second. Paul Menard, driving the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet, finished third. Finishing fourth was Joey Logano, driving the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Carl Edwards, driving the No. 99 Aflac Ford, finished fifth.
Race fans will be heading to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Nationwide Series, Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 and PITT Lite 125, Saturday March 15, 2014, and the Sprint Cup Series, Food City 500, Sunday March 16, 2014. More work but great fun for the fans!
Brenda Hyatt, Chief Editor/Columnist
Donald Scelzo, Photographer