Published Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009 | 7 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009 | 4:34 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
Fifty-one race teams, the second-most entries ever for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, filed entries for Sunday’s Shelby 427.
Every former Cup winner (Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Sterling Marlin, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards) in the 11-year history of the 1.5-mile, tri-oval track, located north of the famed Las Vegas Strip, is entered.
Six Sprint Cup Series champions also are in the field, which fell two teams short of matching the record number of 53 entries that participated in the 2007 race. Other famous drivers from open-wheel racing, including Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Speed, Sam Hornish Jr., A.J. Allmendinger and Max Papis are competing in the Cup Series’ third race of the year.
For the first time since 2004, when Las Vegas native Kyle Busch made his initial splash on the Sprint Cup scene, a driver will be making his debut when 22-year-old Dexter Bean, from Wisconsin, attempts to qualify in his No. 51 Black Jack Dodge.
Tickets remain for the March 1 Shelby 427 and are available online at www.lvms.com or by calling the speedway ticket services department at 1-800-644-4444.
Neon Bonus: 2009 Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth will be joined by legendary NASCAR owner Richard Childress and retired Sprint Cup star Darrelll Waltrip at the LVMS’s Neon Garage Friday at 5 p.m. for a live broadcast on the QVC network to promote souvenirs connected to the special Earnhardt/Elvis car.
All Neon Garage pass holders are invited to attend the broadcast free of charge. Neon Garage passes may be purchased in advance by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online.
Motor Mouths: NASCAR President Mike Helton, four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and Las Vegas native, Kyle and Kurt Busch will be among the personalities answering fans’ questions during next weekends inaugural Fast Chat program.
There is no charge for fans to attend fast-paced question-and-answer sessions, which will take place on the SPEED Stage at the LVMS midway at various times throughout the weekend.
"NASCAR is making a huge push to connect more with the race fans, and we're taking that a step farther here in Las Vegas," said LVMS president Chris Powell, who said a daily chat schedule will be posted near the stage.
"This is an opportunity for any race fan to ask a question of some of the sport's key players. My guess is that the fans' questions likely will be more probing than those posed by members of the media."
Fans wanting to participate in the Fast Chats can submit questions by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions must include the fan's name, e-mail address and inquiry.
Pipe Up Kiddo: Las Vegas teen Kyra White, a 14-year-old who attends Liberty High School, beat out more than 170 other competitors to sing the national anthem prior to Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300.
"I am looking forward to coming out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and just having my voice heard," said White. "I have been singing all of my life and Speedway Superstar was the perfect opportunity to get exposure and experience at such a big event. I am so excited and grateful to be a part of this and cannot wait to sing in front of such an exciting group of race fans."
Quite The Haul: The 2009 edition of the NASCAR Hauler Parade, with nearly 50 semi-truck trailers taking over Las Vegas Boulevard will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26. The convoy will start just south of Russell Road and proceed the near five miles to Sahara Avenue before connecting with Interstate 15 for the journey north to race track.
"During the week of the NASCAR events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, this entire town becomes NASCAR crazy," Powell said. "The response from last year's parade was amazing. People lined the Strip from Mandalay Bay to the Sahara, and the drivers of these big rigs really enjoyed it as well. Every opportunity we get to take NASCAR to the Strip is something special. We're also very appreciative of the support from the various public agencies that have helped make this happen."
Budget Beers: The price of all cold beverages, which includes water, soft drinks and beer, but not cocktails, will be reduced by $1 at both the superspeedway and the Dirt Track for NASCAR Weekend (Feb. 27-March 1). Furthermore the Midway concession stand will offer a special breakfast combo meal from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily that includes a breakfast sandwich and coffee — for just $2.