Look for virtually every NASCAR driver’s number ”” especially the No. 3 of the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. ”” to be worn by fans throughout Las Vegas this week.
Although it will be difficult to break the all-time attendance record for a Nevada athletic event, that doesn’t mean interest has waned for this week’s races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Since there weren’t any new seats built at LVMS for this week, last year’s record attendance will be tough to beat. A new attendance record for a Nevada athletic event was established during last year’s four-day race weekend when an estimated 250,000 fans converged on Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
About 135,000 spectators showed up on carsdirect.com NASCAR Winston Cup race day last year. LVMS officials expect a similar number of fans for the Sunday race that starts at 11:30 a.m. The standing room crowd could allow LVMS to break the attendance record, but the impact on the area’s economy should be the same as last year.
"We have standing room (in the infield), and we will not turn anybody away," said Jeff Motley, LVMS’s public relations director, about the Winston Cup race.
On Sunday, LVMS will also have fireworks and a pre-race ceremony featuring Gov. Kenny Guinn, Sen. John Ensign, and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.
The other major races this week will be the Winston West Series’ NAPA Auto Parts 300 Wednesday 7 p.m. and the NASCAR Grand National Series’ Sam’s Town 300 Saturday 12:30 p.m.
At the Speedway, a special tribute will be held for the late racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. In addition to a floral tribute for Earnhardt, Sr., LVMS will hang a banner above the flowers in his memory. Letters and cards for the Earnhardt family will be accepted from Tuesday through Monday. One bulk mailing will be made to the Earnhardt family after race week.
The changes during this year’s race week involve ones made at LVMS and the NASCAR-themed establishments in Clark County. A new road has been built to help fans leave the north parking lot via Las Vegas Boulevard North.
Away from the Speedway, NASCAR-themed establishments have created their own schedules. One example is downtown’s Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant, which will be involved with the Las Vegas Motor Speedway event from Tuesday through Monday.
Car displays at Race Rock will be held: by LVMS, Tuesday 6-11 p.m.; a free Mini Cup car simulator, Thursday through Monday; by Richard Petty, Saturday through Sunday; by Bobby Hamilton, Thursday; by Joe Nemechek, Friday; with other displays throughout the week.
Onsite shuttle tickets, $20 per person roundtrip, will be available Friday through Sunday. Shuttles from Race Rock to the speedway depart at Saturday and Sunday 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Autograph sessions and ticket sales for various races (as supplies last) take place on every night during the week.
Winston Cup Celebration parties, Thursday through Sunday, will last all day and night.
At other area establishments, the schedule for drivers’ appearances is: WEDNESDAY: Dale Jarrett, The Bullring at LVMS, 5-6 p.m.; Kurt Busch, The Bullring, 6-7 p.m.
THURSDAY: Ken Schrader, M&M’s World, 5 p.m.; Rusty Wallace, Texas Station, 5 p.m.; Tony Stewart, Sahara Hotel’s NASCAR Café, 4-5 p.m.; Chad Little, Sahara Hotel’s NASCAR Café, 6-8 p.m.; Ken Schrader, Sahara Hotel’s NASCAR Café, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
FRIDAY: Robert Pressley, The Orleans, 8 p.m.; Bobby Labonte, Sahara Hotel’s NASCAR Café, 6-8 p.m.
SATURDAY: Dick Trickle, Sahara Hotel’s NASCAR Café, 6-8 p.m.