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February 25, 2011 NEWEST - PRIOR WEEK - ARCHIVES
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Here Comes The Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Plus: The Samís Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series, Free Driver Autograph Session, and more...

by
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This is going to be a busy week at the, ďGood Olí BoysĒ hangout. For, this is the week, when the Las Vegas Motor Speedway turns itís 1 Ĺ mile super-banked-tri-oval into Speedway City, as it hosts some 80 plus of the best automobile drivers in the world.

Hey, gang, ďThe Boys of Thunder,Ē will be in town to race in the Samís Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event Saturday, March 5, and the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Sunday, March 6th. Both races are scheduled to get the green flag at noon.

The week gets underway Thursday, March 3 with a full day of NASCAR Nationwide Series practice, and a free driverís autograph session in the Neon Garage area. The Stratosphere Hotel/Casino (they have really stepped up and gotten involved with the speedway in every way possible, and deserve a big hand of thanks from race fans), is sponsoring the Friday Pole Day events, which features practice for both races, as well as qualifying for the Kobalt 400, and a free autograph session in the Back Alley Bar at the Stratosphere, beginning at 8 p.m.

Trevor Bayne #21 Ford Car

Trevor Bayne, who startled the world of auto racing, with a spectacular win last weekend in the Daytona 500, will be here. Bayne was driving a Ford for the famous Wood Brothers, and took over the lead on the final two laps to capture the victory. Iím sure you know by now he was only 20, making him the youngest winner of the hard to win race (it took the late, great Dale Earnhardt 20 years to win it). What was so surprising: the Daytona was only his second Cup Series race ever, and he was a single car entrant. Bayne will be in our little race out here, driving the #21 car, and will be signing his name to whatever, as part of a special free autograph session at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, in the Neon Garage area of the speedway. Admission is free Thursday only.

As you may know (and you may not know) the Speedway and the Stratosphere, picked up the football after the NFL, and that stadium in Texas some billionaire built, fumbled and left a bunch of angry ticket holders to the Super Bowl game standing outside, without any seats. Well the local guys put their heads together, and offered free tickets to anyone who was able to prove they were not able to see the big game. A total of 34 responded to the offer, and the Stratosphere placed those 34 displaced names into a drawing to win one of four airfare and three nightsí packages at the hotel. Amanda Saldana of San Antonio, Texas was one of the hapless pigskin fans who sailed through the uprights in Las Vegas. She not only scored on the free tickets, but made the two extra points by being one of four to win airfare and hotel stay. Other winners of free tickets responded from as far away as Valencia, Pa., New Berlin, Wis, Charlotte, N.C. and Pittsburgh.


TOP OF NEXT COLUMN

Traffic, one of the major problems each year, continues to get better as improvements to I-15, has helped tremendously in moving vehicles in and out of the parking lots. While commuting by car should be trouble-free (if God forbid thereís an accident, then wowee, all the planning goes out the door), but the speedway still encourages fans to use mass transit to attend the races. For the third consecutive year, Coach America will service the event. In 2009, Coach America replaced CAT (public transportation) as the preferred transit system for the events at LVMS. You can contact them at (website discontinued) or (702) 948-7360. There is also a special link to Coach America and Key Tours (private charter) at www.LVMS.com and click on the ďGetting to the racesĒ link. General parking is free. The track will continue to crack down on the fraudulent use of handicapped placards. Speedway security will be checking the validity of passes on every vehicle.

The popular NASCAR Hauler Parade will again take command of the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, Thursday, March 3, beginning at 6 p.m. Some 65 to 70 of the beautiful haulers (they carry races cars across the country week-after-week) are expected to start the parade from the South Point Hotel/Casino, at the south end of Las Vegas Blvd. Once the trucks are lined up, they will proceed north on the Blvd., heading for Sahara Blvd., where they will turn west and jump on I-15, for a return to the speedway. The later than usual start will hopefully allow more people to watch the parade. It is really something to see.

Danica Patrick's Hauler on the Las Vegas Strip

The other big news this week involved auto racing (unless you listen to the world news events, then this is very minor), with the announcement that the IZOD IndyCar Series (formerly known as the IRL) will return to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, on Sunday, Oct 16. The IRL raced at the speedway from 1996 through 2000, with the last winner being Al Unser Jr. in the IRL Vegas 300. This time, the powers-to-be, have connected it with the NASCAR truck series, which will run its event as usual Saturday evening. The Open Wheel racing fraternity fell into hard times when a split between car owners and drivers occurred in the late Ď80s, and some went that way, while others went this way. Thus the IRL was formed and its biggest event (and where the money came from) was the Indy 500. Now itís all one happy family and the future looks bright for everyone. Tickets for that weekend go on sale Feb. 25 at Ticketmaster, and the LVMS.

Danica Patrick car

Well, gang, thatís about it for this week coming. See ya at the track. Iíll have more race info in next weeks column. Oh, yeah, Danica Patrick will be here for the Nationwide race on Saturday, and the IRL event in October. Iím outa here!



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