It's The Norm

Remember a few weeks back, I mentioned that the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in conjunction with Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino and FOX 5 TV, were staging a contest to discover a singer to sing our National Anthem for the NASCAR Nationwide Sam’s Town 300 this Saturday (Feb. 27) at noon? Well the search is over.

Ashlie Jones will make her national television debut at the speedway as the winner of the search. Jones, a Las Vegas resident and an aspiring singer, will sing the anthem a few minutes prior to the start of the race.

shelby gt350 pace car (2)“I’m really looking forward to just being a part of the NASCAR weekend and am grateful for the opportunity,” Jones said. “This will be my first time to see and attend a live race, and I’m really looking forward to performing before such a big crowd.”

Jones is a 25-year-old employee of Earth Limos & Buses, and has been singing locally for several years, but she will experience her first national television exposure for the first time this weekend. Race sponsors, Sam’s Town and FOX 5 TV, staged an open audition to find a talent to sing the national anthem, chose Jones out of more than 170 contestants.


According to Fred Crespi of the Palms Casino Resort, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmy Johnson, has been selected as the odds-on favorite to win Sunday’s (Feb. 28) Shelby American race at the speedway. According to Crespi, who is responsible for the odds going up on the betting board, he was heavily influenced by Johnson’s three consecutive victories at the speedway, and his recent win last Sunday in California. The Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver will start the 400-mile race at 4/1 ahead of local hero (and last year’s winner) Kyle Busch at 7/1, and the 2010 Daytona 500 winner, Jamie McMurray at 35/1. Other notables are Mark Martin 13/2; Jeff Gordon 9/1; Tony Stewart 11/1 and Kurt Busch 15/1. This writer is going with my hero, Martin,to capture the checkered flag.

Legendary comedian Carrot Top will be the honorary Crew Manager for Mike Wallace in the Monster Diesel #01 Chevrolet Saturday, during the Nationwide race. In his duties as Crew Manager, Carrot Top will hold the #01 pit sign during the entire race and will also give the real Wallace pit crew a pep talk prior to the noon race.  Carrot Top is a lifelong fan of stock car racing and is really up for this chance to be on pit row. Wallace finished 12th in the Nationwide race in California last weekend. Carrot Top appears nightly in the showroom at the Luxor Hotel and has been a resident of our little village for a number of years.

ned jarrettNASCAR stock car racing legend (and one heck of a nice guy), and broadcasting legend, Ned Jarrett, will join fellow golden-era superstar, Junior Johnson, to greet fans in the Neon Garage during the weekend festivities at the speedway. Both men will be accompanied by one of their restored race cars in the Neon Garage. Jarrett will be reunited with his familiar blue #11 Ford, while Johnson will sit next to his #3 Holly Farms Chevrolet. Ned is the father of the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Dale Jarrett. Dale has not only followed his father as a driver, and winning a championship, but now works as a television analyst.  Ned Jarrett was named one of NASCAR’s Greatest Drivers in 1998. He retired from racing at the relatively-young age of 34 in 1966. Neon Garage tickets are available by calling the LVMS ticket office at (800) 644-4444. Tickets for both races are still available.

The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series has relocated the first event of its 2010 season, scheduled for March 6-7, to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The first and second rounds of the Lucas series will be held on a brand-new, purpose-built one-mile track. The new track will feature the highest banked turn on the Lucas circuit. With its 10 turns and giant “Table Top,” this technical track brings the high-flying door-to-door exhilaration of Lucas off road racing to the track for the first time. SCORE, a California based off-road promotion group (who promotes the famous Baja races) gave it their best for a couple of years and gave up the battle. The first Las Vegas closed course race was held at the old Las Vegas Speedway in 1976, and was sponsored by the Silver Bird Hotel & Casino (which has been imploded like a number of the older hotels on the Strip).

Well, gang, hope the rain stays away and that everyone gets home from the speedway safe and sound. I’m outa here!