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October 21, 2014

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Vasser might be taking his last laps

WHAT: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series

WHEN: Truck race begins at 6:15 p.m. Saturday; Champ Car race begins at approximately 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

TICKETS: Available starting at $36.75 at LVMS ticket office, www.lvms.com or by calling 644-4444.

Schedule

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Today

Noon -- Spectator gates open

Noon-12:45 p.m. -- Champ Car rookie practice

12:45-2:30 p.m. -- Champ Car practice

4:30-6 p.m. -- Champ Car qualifying

8-9:30 p.m. -- Champ Car practice

Saturday

9 a.m. -- Reserved seating gates open

9-10 a.m. -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice

10:30-11:30 a.m. -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series final practice

Noon -- Champ Car paddock opens to participants

2 p.m. -- General admission seating gates open

3 p.m. -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying

4:15-4:45 p.m. -- Champ Car warm-up

6 p.m. -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver introductions

6:15 p.m. -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Las Vegas 350 (146 laps, 219 miles)

7:45 p.m. -- Grid Champ Cars (infield)

8:30 p.m. (approximate) -- Champ Car World Series race (166 Laps, 400 km)

Jimmy Vasser had to wait eight years before the open-wheel racing series in which he competes, now known as the Champ Car World Series, finally staged a race in his adopted hometown.

Vasser, a nine-year resident of Las Vegas, qualified on the outside of the front row for last year's inaugural Champ Car race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and settled for a fifth-place finish in a thrilling race won by eventual series champion Sebastien Bourdais.

As he prepared for the second "Double Down in the Desert," Saturday night's racing doubleheader featuring the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Champ Car World Series at LVMS, Vasser indicated that this might be his final season as a driver in the open-wheel series.

"It's highly likely that this is probably my last year racing in Champ Car," Vasser said Thursday following a press conference to promote Saturday's event.

Vasser, who has 10 CART/Champ Car victories in his 14-year career and won the series championship in 1996, is part owner of the PKV Racing team for which he drives and indicated he would devote more of his time to the ownership side of racing when he steps out of the cockpit.

"We're still looking at what we're going to be doing with our driver lineup next year," Vasser said. "I'm not making any real announcement one way or another in regard to stopping driving, but it'll all come into focus in the next three or four weeks."

Vasser said he would like nothing more than to earn his 11th career victory in what could prove to be his final race in Las Vegas.

"I love Vegas -- I've been here for nine years," Vasser said. "It would certainly be nice to win and show some of the friends of mine here in town that never make it out to the races what we do and get a trophy for the trophy case."

The 166-lap Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 will start at approximately 8:30 p.m. and will follow the 146-lap Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Last year's doubleheader attracted a crowd estimated at 80,000 -- although more than half the crowd left the speedway before the Champ Cars had completed a dozen laps.

That, Truck Series driver Todd Bodine told those assembled for Thursday's press conference, was a mistake.

"One of (the Champ Car) guys was talking about the fans leaving -- it's crazy for them to leave," Bodine, who finished second in last year's Las Vegas 350, told the Champ Car drivers. "I stuck around last year and watched you guys race and it was a heck of a race. I give you guys credit for running as fast as you do around there -- I wouldn't do it, that's for sure."

Bodine was running out front last year heading to the white flag, but was bumped out of the lead by race winner Shane Hmiel. Hmiel won't be here to defend his title because NASCAR suspended him earlier this summer after he failed a second substance abuse test.

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