NASCAR Weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Kyle Bush ready to race
Kyle Bush ready to race

This is the week everyone who loves Motorsports waits for in Las Vegas. It’s when a bunch of men and women, from a very exclusive club, arrive in the city to do a wee bit of noise making. Yep, gang, it’s NASCAR week, and the “Gang from Thunder,” are here, and raring to drive their specially built Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota, around the high-banked, 1½ mile Super Speedway, that sits across the street from a real speed joint, Nellis Air Force Base. The entire column will be devoted to NASCAR week, and the up-coming Mint 400 Off-Road Race, which follows next week. Two great weeks of auto racing! Wow, what more can a motorsports junkie ask for?


NASCAR Weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) kicks off on Thursday, March 6, with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, featuring free grandstand admission. Qualifying takes place on Friday, March 7, with Stratosphere Pole Day. The NASCAR Nationwide Series takes center stage on Saturday, March 8, with the annual Boyd Gaming 300 at 1:15 p.m. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series KOBALT 400 is scheduled to start at noon on Sunday, March 9.


In a city famous for celebrity chefs and their world-class eateries, it is only fitting that Las Vegas Motor Speedway offer its guests more than the standard hot dog-and-hamburger race day fare, during NASCAR Weekend. Executive Chef Howard Smulo, of Levy Restaurants, is excited to welcome hungry race fans back to America’s racing showplace, with a signature array of new menu creations befitting a leading sports, and entertainment venue. New specialty items will include: Bucket o’ BBQ, a scrumptious stacks of house-smoked barbecue, including fans’ choice of sliced brisket, pulled chicken or pulled pork, accompanied by cherry peppers, homemade potato salad, signature Levy Restaurants BBQ sauce, and southern coleslaw, served inside a tasty waffle bowl. Bucket o’ BBQ will be available at the Smo-que ‘n’ hot tent.


Also available will be eNVy Specialty Sausages, a pair of juicy sausage links loaded with premium toppings at Flame ‘n’ Fuel; eNVy BBQ Tri-Tip Sausage, delectable tri-tip sausage served on a warm roll, topped with signature Levy Restaurants BBQ sauce and crispy southern coleslaw.  eNVy Reuben Sausage, a twist on the classic Reuben, featuring Tapatio thousand island dressing, and homemade sauerkraut atop a custom corned beef sausage. And, last but not the least, comes Walkin’ Taco, a mouth-watering mixture of fresh beef, spicy jalapeno peppers, shredded lettuce, fresh salsa, creamy cheese sauce and refreshing sour cream, served together inside a Doritos bag. Walkin’ Tacos will be available at concession locations in Section 2, beneath the suites. LVMS cocktails and cold beverages served in a unique, take-home cup, will be available at all bar locations and concessions outlets throughout the event.



Las Vegas Motor Speedway promises to be a grand spectacle on the track, on stage and in the air. Las Vegas headliners, Million Dollar Quartet, will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the March 9, KOBALT 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The cast from the Tony Award-winning show now playing at Harrah’s Las Vegas, also will perform a pre-race show prior to Sunday’s race. Million Dollar Quartet (, is a show set, back in time on Dec. 4, 1956, when an extraordinary twist of fate brought recording legends, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley together. The Million Dollar Quartet brings that historic night to life, with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal, and celebrations that is both poignant and funny. Fans will relive the era and enjoy the incredible score of rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B, and country hits, performed live by world-class actors and musicians. Showcased hit songs include: “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “Hound Dog.”


Thunderbirds flyover Speedway
Thunderbirds flyover Speedway

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will provide the spectacular flyover during the national anthem prior to the KOBALT 400. Activated on May 29, 1953, the Thunderbirds (, are the USAF’s official air demonstration team, and are based at the Nellis Air Force Base.  Sarah Shelton will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the Boyd Gaming 300 on Saturday, March 8. Shelton, a full-time University of Nevada at Las Vegas student, won the KVVU-TV FOX 5 Speedway Superstar competition on Feb. 22.


For those of you who like to get up-close-and-personal, with the various drivers, here is a list of driver appearances in Las Vegas during NASCAR week:

TUESDAY, March 4:

  • World of Outlaws drivers, Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz, will be at J.D. Byrider, 5600 West Sahara Ave. from 5-7 p.m.
Brendan Gaughan

THURSDAY, March 6:

  • Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers, and David Ragan will do a Q&A session, on stage in Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage from 4:15-4:35 p.m. Ryan Newman, Brendan Gaughan, Austin Dillon, Brian Scott and Ty Dillon, will be signing autographs, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the South Point Hotel & Casino. Greg Biffle, at Walgreens at 3765 Las Vegas Blvd South at 6 p.m. Clint Bowyer, a Q&A session with FOX Sports personality, Jeff Hammond, at the Speedway Children’s Charities, NASCAR Driver & Memorabilia Auction at Sam’s Town Live! inside Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall at 6 p.m. (admission is free, seating is limited). David Ragan, at autograph session from 6-8 p.m. in the lounge area of The D Casino Hotel on Fremont St.  Kevin Harvick, who just won the race in Phoenix over the weekend, will have a “Happy Hour(s) with Harvick,” starting at 7 p.m., in the Stratosphere Theater at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower. (This event opens to the first 250 fans with wristbands).
Las Vegas racer, Dylan Kwasnieski
Las Vegas racer, Dylan Kwasnieski

FRIDAY, March 7:

  • Brendan Gaughan, Dylan Kwasniewski will be on the midway stage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 11 a.m. Brendan Gaughan will join, ESPN motorsports reporter Jamie Little to sign autographs at the SNRN booth on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway midway at 11:20 a.m. Jimmie Johnson, and Chad Knaus,  on the Neon Garage stage during the Kobalt Kampout at 6 p.m. Las Vegas driver, Kyle Busch, will be traveling over to the Stratosphere Theater in the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are free and will be available at the casino beginning at 10 a.m. on March 6. Lucky fans (age 21 or older) will be drawn to play blackjack on stage with Kyle. Appearance includes Q&A session and a never-seen-before footage of Kyle racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring. Wrapping up Friday will be, Michael McDowell signing autograph from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino.

SATURDAY, March 8:

  • Denny Hamlin, will be on stage in Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage at 10:45 a.m. Miss Sprint Cup (Kim Coon), Miss Coors Light (Rachel Rupert), and Miss zMAX (Christina Davidson), will make a special appearance on the midway stage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 11 a.m.

SUNDAY, March 9:

  • Kyle Busch will wrap up the public appearances at 9 a.m. when he goes to the midway stage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 9 a.m. Tickets for LVMS’s March 6-9 NASCAR Weekend, and information about Neon Garage tickets, Lucky 7 preferred parking and driver introduction passes, can be obtained by going to or by calling (800) 644-4444.


And, the Mint 400 race, which will hit the Nevada desert on Saturday, March 15, from everything I’ve been told, will have a full field of off-road race vehicles numbering just a wee bit over 300. Parnelli Jones, a long-time friend of this writer, and one of the very first big-names (Jones won the Indy 500) to enter the race in 1968, and raced for a number of years (actually winning a couple of times), has been named the Grand Marshall for the race. Jones will ride in the lead vehicle during the Parade on the Las Vegas Strip, Wednesday, March 12, beginning at about 3 p.m. He will be joined by about 100 of the exotic machines that will be competing on Saturday. Next week’s column will have a complete schedule of things pertaining to the “Great American Off-Road Race.”


Well, gang, that’s about it. I’ll see ya at the races.

I’m outa here!

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