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August 29, 2014

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Authorities say leave early for NASCAR race

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Sam Morris

Las Vegas Motor Speedway General Manager Chris Powell speaks at their annual pre-race traffic news conference Wednesday.

Beyond the Sun

Driving tips to speedway

Each year procrastinating fans make their way to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway just in time to see the checkered flag fall, so authorities have set up a new plan this year to accommodate the NASCAR Weekend traffic.

Last year, NASCAR Weekend hosted more than 150,000 fans that brought $200 million to the local economy, but since there are only two routes to the speedway, getting to and from the race can be difficult.

“Sorry about the road outside,” Nevada Department of Transportation public information officer Bob McKenzie said before explaining that the construction on Interstate 15 will take another year to finish. McKenzie suggested residents try to find their own personal routes to the speedway on race days.

“If you live on the east side use Nellis, use Lamb -- there are a number of surface streets you can use. On the west side, the 215 and again also from the south part of town, find other ways to get to the speedway other than using Las Vegas Boulevard or I-15 as a direct route,” McKenzie said.

Coach America has provided busses that will take passengers to and from the speedway. The shuttles will pick fans up from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from the Tropicana Hotel, Treasure Island, Riviera and Four Queens, and will return fans starting at 2:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Passes are $30 for Friday and Saturday, $40 in advance for Sunday or $50 at the desk Sunday, and $75 for a three-day pass.

“Seems like a no-brainer to me, it's money well-spent,” Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Honea said. “That gets that many cars off the road, it’s a service that gets you out here, gets you back home. You don’t have to worry about traffic congestion; busses have their own way of getting out of here.”

Honea said motorists should arrive early and stay late to avoid problems.

“I can tell you from our standpoint it's very tricky this year, obviously, getting all these cars out to this event. They come spread out. We’re going to see traffic coming in at 7 o’clock in the morning just as heavy as we see it at 10 o’clock in the morning,” he said. “We have people coming in for six or seven hours. Unfortunately, these people all want to leave in the same 20-minute period.”

The speedway will create multiple lanes to accommodate the increased traffic volume entering the area. Once guests arrive via I-15 at Exit 54 for Speedway Boulevard, the road will split into three lanes designated to specific parking lots. From Las Vegas Boulevard, the lanes are divided five ways.

Exiting the speedway will also change. Travelers heading northbound on I-15 must travel to the 215 Beltway exit and turnaround at Range Road. Those traveling to Las Vegas Boulevard will choose one of five lanes to exit the speedway, directing them to either North or South Las Vegas Boulevard.

“The goal of the Motor Speedway is to get them in, sitting down, so they can see the green flag as well as the checkered flag,” Honea said.

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