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July 28, 2014

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NASCAR Hauler Parade again brings excitement to the Strip, helps start another week of events

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Steve Marcus

A Japanese tourist, right, takes photos during a parade of NASCAR haulers on the Las Vegas Strip Wednesday, March 6, 2013. The NASCAR hauler parade traveled north on the Las Vegas Strip to Sahara Avenue, then on I-15 to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

2013 NASCAR Hauler Parade on the Strip

A Japanese tourist, right, takes photos during a parade of NASCAR haulers on the Las Vegas Strip Wednesday, March 6, 2013.  The NASCAR hauler parade traveled north on the Las Vegas Strip to Sahara Avenue, then on I-15 to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Launch slideshow »

It’s a scene that doesn’t get old for racing fans and other tourists visiting the Las Vegas Strip each early March.

The NASCAR Hauler Parade again shut down one of the world’s most famous streets, with the trucks carrying the cars for this weekend’s Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races traveling from the South Point to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on a familiar course.

Like year’s past on race week, they headed north on Las Vegas Boulevard, turned on Sahara Avenue and then onto the 1-15 toward the speedway. Along the way, drivers of the haulers honked their trucks' horns to the joy of the fans.

Some were NASCAR fanatics and wore apparel of their favorite drivers. Other were visitors who stumbled upon the parade while sightseeing, getting a free show in a town where tickets to events on the Strip are often priced high.

Several snapped photos or took video with their phones. All left with a story to tell and a memory.

They stood on the bridge that connected the MGM to the Monte Carlo, or near the Bellagio, Caesars Palace or Mirage. Their social media pages, and photo albums after the trip, will surely document the amazing spectacle: truck after truck, each colorfully decorated with the sponsors, ranging from candy to retail stores, cruising the Strip with the town’s legendary resorts in the background.

About 40 haulers participated in the parade, which closed the Strip for northbound traffic for about 20 minutes.

“They travel 2,000 or 3,000 miles to be here,” said Larry Christ, a Northern California resident who attends the race each year with his wife, Bev. “The least we can do is show our support.”

For the Erdman family of Williston, N.D., following the NASCAR circuit from town to town is a yearlong passion. This is the third week of the race season and it will be the third race they attend. They started in Florida at the Daytona 500 and then were in Phoenix last week.

Kurt and Colette Erdman and Kurt’s mother, Myrtle, combined to wear apparel from four drivers. Most racing fans are loyal to one driver — naturally, several standing outside the MGM during the parade went crazy when Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hauler drove by — but Kurt Erdman has a different theory. He likes good racing.

“Someone once gave me some great advice. If your favorite driver gets knocked out early in the race, then your day is cut short,” he said.

So, come Sunday at the Speedway, he’ll be rooting for Carl Edwards, Danica Patrick, Kyle Busch and, of course, Dale Jr.

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

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