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Where and when NASCAR drivers will appear around town

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Steve Marcus

Race fans take photos during a NASCAR hauler parade on Las Vegas Boulevard Thursday, March 8, 2012.

Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | noon

NASCAR Hauler Parade 2012

Matt Kenseth's car hauler passes fans in front of Bally's during a NASCAR hauler parade on Las Vegas Boulevard Thursday, March 8, 2012. Launch slideshow »

NASCAR makes its annual March stop in Las Vegas this week, bringing more to the area than just a few days of racing.

Several of the drivers, widely considered some of the most approachable figures in sports, will be at various venues for appearances and autograph sessions. Most appearances are free.

The events are highlighted by Thursday’s free NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Here’s a list of events, as provided by Speedway officials. More could be added later in the week.

Wednesday, March 6

• 5 to 6 p.m. — Autograph session with Brendan Gaughan, a Las Vegas resident and Bishop Gorman High graduate, at South Point.

• 6 p.m. — NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hauler parade on Las Vegas Boulevard. The hauler trucks start at the South Point and head north on Las Vegas Boulevard until reaching Sahara Avenue. They head West on Sahara to the I-15 and on to the Speedway.

Thursday, March 7

• 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — Free NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Drivers will be testing the new Gen 6 cars.

• 3:45 p.m. — Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Casey Mears Q&A session in the Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Admission is free.

• 4 p.m. to 7 — Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio live broadcast: Dialed In with Claire B. Lang at The Pub at the Monte Carlo. Co-hosted by Michael Waltrip from 5 to 6 p.m., David Stremme at 6 p.m. and Martin Truex Jr. at 6:30 p.m.

• 5:15 to 7 p.m — Autograph session with Aric Almirola at Smith’s, 2255 E. Centennial Parkway in North Las Vegas.

• 5 p.m. — Speedway Children’s Charities NASCAR Driver Auction at Sam’s Town Live! Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Jason White will appear. Admission is free.

• 6 to 8 p.m — Kyle Busch at M&M’s World Las Vegas. Check with store for details on wristbands.

•6 to 6:30 p.m. — Autograph session with Michael Waltrip at The Pub at the Monte Carlo.

Friday March 8

• 11:30 a.m. — Motorsports artist Sam Bass hosts a Q and A session with Miss Sprint Cup and autograph session at Sprint Unlimited Experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

• 5:30 p.m. — Matt Kenseth, hosted by FOX Sports’ Chris Myers, inside Sam’s Town Live! Doors open at 5:30 p.m., driver appearance at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

•6 to 7 p.m. — Team owner Richard Childress, drivers Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon (Childress’ grandsons) at Optica at the Venetian.

•6 p.m. — Kasey Kahne, hosted by FOX Sports’ Jeff Hammond at the Mardi Gras Ballroom at the Orleans. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; driver appearance is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

•7 to 8 p.m. — Autograph session with Michael McDowell and Blake Koch at The Pub at the Monte Carlo.

• 7 to 8 p.m. — Autograph session with Jeffrey Earnhardt, Alex Bowman, ESPN motorsports reporters Dr. Jerry Punch, Allen Bestwick, Vince Welch, Shannon Spake and Dave Burns at the Riviera.

• 7 p.m.-9 — Photo opportunity and autograph session with drivers Kevin Swindell, Robert Richardson Jr, Dexter Stacey, and Hal Martin at the D Bar in Fremont Street Experience. The NASCAR Happy Hour is open to the public and features a cash bar.

• 7:30 p.m. — Drivers Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman at the Tony Stewart Foundation poker tournament at the MGM. Interested players must register in person at the MGM poker room. There is a $100 buy-in. Registration begins at 6 p.m. Call (702) 891-7434 for details.

•8 to 9 p.m. — Autograph session with Bobby Labonte a at The Pub at the Monte Carlo.

Saturday, March 9

• 9:10 to 9:40 a.m. — Sam Hornish Jr. No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil merchandise trailer at the Speedway.

•7 to 8 p.m. Autograph session at the the Riviera with Austin Dillon, Jeffrey Earnhardt, David Ragan, David Gilliland, Josh Wise and motorsports artist Sam Bass.

• 7 p.m. — Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick will make an appearance in the MGM lobby. MGM officials will distribute 50 wristbands beginning at noon on Saturday at the show car in the lobby for the opportunity to take a photo with the drivers. Guests who have a wristband will receive an autographed Coca-Cola and Coke Zero bottle signed by both (no outside items). There also will be a 10-minute interview session open to the public, but you must have a wristband in order to get a photo.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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