Last month Las Vegas hosted 170,000 NASCAR fans for the annual Nextel Cup event. Next week the NHRA roars through town for the first of its two stops into the city. This week, it’s the Champ Car World Series shot at entertaining this newly grown gear-head city.
This is apparently what the locals residing in Las Vegas want. All the other motor sports events are so remarkably successful that it’s only natural for any form of racing that involves speed at absolute sick levels to do well in Las Vegas. The locals have spoken and they say we want more racing.
The Champ Car World Series visited the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a last second schedule change two seasons ago. The event was paired with the Truck race as a duel promotion. The truck race is always successful so determining how much the Champ Cars brought to the table is tough.
What isn’t hard to say is that most auto racing enthusiasts don’t want to watch the high performance open wheel cars on an oval. These cars belong on road courses and street circuits, where the beauty of their power is felt more by the sharp turns at full speed. Just as much focus goes into the suspension as it does on the engines.
I have a feeling that this race will become a regular staple in the Las Vegas market. It will do so by being more successful than anticipated by the optimistic Champ Car World Series people and the downtown group.
When you get a chance this weekend, don’t forget to say hello to one of the series car owners — Cool Hand Like himself, Paul Newman.
Paul Tracy (5/2) —
Las Vegas resident
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS”¡ 2003 Champ Car World Series champion
”¡ Champ Car leader among active drivers in wins (30) and poles (25)
”¡ Leader among active drivers in laps led with 4,184
”¡ Four-time winner of Grand Prix of Long Beach
Sebastien Bourdais (6/5)
— born in Le Mans, France
”¡ 2004 and 2005 Champ Car World Series Champion
”¡ Nine Consecutive Top-Five Finishes in 2005
”¡ First Champ Car Driver in Eight Years To Win IROC Race
”¡ Won Poles For First Two Races Of Champ Car Career
”¡ Won FIA International F3000 Championship in 2002