Saturday, March 1, 2008

Las Vegas NASCAR Experience

Where in the World are Keith and Kathy?

Keith and Kathy are at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway!

A couple of weekends ago we viewed NASCAR races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). NASCAR camping is a new and interesting experience for us. It’s dry camping in a gravel lot outside the track with thousands of other race fans in a wide range of RV types.

View from the Motorhome Roof at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Everything about NASCAR seems very expensive. However, it’s worth it to Kathy, who loves almost all competitive sports. She claims to especially love aggressive driving, but that story changes dramatically when Keith attempts it. Because we bought a package deal through the Escapees, we are not sure about the cost of the camping. We’re guessing about $400 for 5 nights of dry camping (no services) outside the track. We would like to know what it cost the hundreds of RV’s camped in the infield. The cost of our two three-day track passes was $384 (printed on the ticket). Not the best seats, but far from the worst. Total package cost was about $1000, including passes, camping, several meals, and a couple of shop tours, including the Shelby facility.

The High Rent District

On Thursday we toured two engine shops and were feted to pulled pork, barbecued chicken and all the fixings. The food came from Memphis Barbecue and we rate it 3 COW’s.

On Friday we attended the practice and time trials. The sun was so hot that Kathy got sun burned. We have to remember that the sun in the Southwest is stronger than the sun in New England. On Saturday morning Keith went out to Walgreens and purchased strong sun screen.

On Saturday we watched the Sam’s Town 300. It was a very interesting race . Turn 4 on the track is called suicide turn and it lived up to its reputation. There were more than a dozen crashes ( none serious ). The wind started to blow while we were in the stands and it was chilly.

Sunday was the day of the big race, the UAW 400. It was colder and windier and we stayed for about half of the race and ended up going back to the coach to watch the end on TV. We also watched the massive traffic jam as more than 150,000 race fans tried to leave the track at the same time. We left Monday morning, after the rush.

Pit Crews Listen Respectfully to the Natonal Anthem

"Gentlemen, Start Your Engnes!"

Action in the Pits

The best thing about the LVMS is it’s proximity to Nellis Air Force Base. During the practice sessions Friday, we were treated to numerous flybys of various AF jets, including F-15 and F-16 fighters, as well as a C-5 cargo aircraft. The C-5 approached the runway from the north, seeming to float slowly and effortlessly past the grandstands. Keith wants everyone to know that the engines in the fighter jets are made in East Hartford CT by Pratt & Whitney. P&W looses a little bit on every sale, but makes it up in volume. Seriously, most of our profit is generated from spare parts sales, so that every flyby helped support Keith’s pension a little bit. The F-16 jets were flown by the Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic team, so we were treated to some impressive formation flying before each race. We know it’s hard to believe, but it almost seemed these guys were showing off for the fans.

Pre-Race Entertainment by the Air Force Thunderbirds

Monday, 3 March we left the Speedway lot and headed to Sam’s Town Casino and Campground for a few nights of shows, buffets, and gambling. Kathy’s pension was deposited to her account on Friday, and she was itching to invest some of it at Sam’s. Stay tuned to learn how she did.

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