Meet and greet the NASCAR drivers

Mar 2, 2004 6:41 AM

NASCAR rolls into Las Vegas this week bringing thundering excitement to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and hundreds of thousands of visitors to Southern Nevada.

In addition to the Nextel Cup Series 400 race on Sunday and the Sam’s Town Busch Series 300 on Saturday, NASCAR events are scheduled throughout the valley at various casinos, restaurants and other venues.

This year’s Daytona 500 champ Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Michael Waltrip will host a question and answer forum at the MGM Grand on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Entertainment Dome (across from Studio 54).

The public meet and greet (Earnhardt on Friday and Waltrip on Saturday) kicks off the MGM Grand’s Driven 2 Rock weekend.

At Treasure Island, NASCAR driver Ernie Sadler and his brother Hermie Sadler will hold a meet and greet session on Friday night in the Mist nightclub.

The session will include autograph signing, picture taking with fans and a drawing for two pit passes for Saturday’s Busch series race. Treasure Island sponsors Hermie Sadler’s race car, and will display a replica of the car in the casino.

The Palms will host NASCAR champion Sterling Martin on Friday night in its Lounge, where fans can meet last year’s Daytona winner, take pictures and get autographs.

Also on hand will be the Havoline Girls to add spice to the festivities. In addition, Sterling Martin’s Show Car will be on display from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

At M&M’s World next to the MGM Grand, Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M’s Ford race car, will sign 500 autographs for fans on Thursday from 6-8 p.m.

Tickets to ensure an autograph will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

At Sam’s Town, the official Sam’s Town 300 After Race Party kicks off inside Sam’s Town Live! immediately after the race on Saturday, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

At the party, race fans can mix and mingle and celebrate as they dance the night away to songs from the World Class Rockers.

Superstar Busch series drivers Kenny Wallace, Scott Wimmer and David Green are just some of the NASCAR personalities slated to attend the party and revel with fans.

Tickets for the Sam’s Town After Race Party are $10.

Race driver Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to sign autographs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Team Lowe’s Fan Experience located at the Midway Display area.

A ticket is required to receive an autograph. Fans may earn the chance to win a ticket by competing in Lowe’s challenges and games Saturday morning at the Fan Experience.

Also at Sam’s Town, there will be a Speedway Children’s Charities NASCAR Driver Auction on Thursday at 6 p.m. Expected to attend will be Rusty Wallace, Kyle Petty, Brendan Gaughan, Kyle Busch, Jason Keller, David Green, Mike Wallace, Paul Wolfe and Stacy Compton.

Other personal appearance by NASCAR drivers include:

”¡ Rusty Wallace: Hard Rock Hotel, Thursday from 5:30-7 p.m.

”¡ Billy Parker: Hard Rock Hotel, Thursday from 5:30-7 p.m.

”¡ Ricky Rudd: Stardust Hotel, Thursday (call for times)

”¡ Johnny Sauter: Harrah’s Hotel, Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

”¡ Robby Gordon: Harrah’s Hotel, Thursday (call for times)

”¡ Sterling Martin: Hooters on West Sahara, Thursday from 7-8 p.m.; Sunset Station, Friday from 6-7 p.m.

”¡ Greg Biffle: NASCAR Café, Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

”¡ Greg Biffle: Harrah’s Hotel, Thursday from 8-9:30 p.m.

”¡ Kevin Harvick: NASCAR Café, Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

”¡ Bobby Labonte: Fremont Hotel, Friday from 7-8 p.m.

”¡ Ricky Rudd: Fremont Hotel, Friday from 7-8 p.m.