The UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 is now the Shelby 427, but it's still at the impressive Las Vegas Motor Speedway and still offers all the heart-pounding excitement of a NASCAR race. As if Las Vegas didn't have glitter enough - out in the desert 12 miles north of town is another sparkling gem: the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's the newest major auto racing facility in the southwestern United States, and the LVMS was designed to be ready for practically anything! It includes a 2.5-mile road course, a 4000-foot drag racing strip, and the Bullring (not what it sounds like, but rather a 3/8-mile track which serves as the venue for more than half a dozen short-track varieties of racing). You'll also find the half-mile clay oval Dirt Track at LVMS; that's where they host two annual events in the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, including the season finale.
The center of attraction, however, is the 1.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway that serves as the track for NASCAR races in all three categories. Every autumn since 1996, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has hosted a Craftsman Truck Series event; since 2001 this has been known as the Las Vegas 350. 1997 saw the first Sam's Town 300, a Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series event which still continues today. Starting in March 1998, that race has set the stage for a NASCAR's Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel Cup) race, originally the Las Vegas 400, but since 2009 titled the Shelby 427.
Can a city famous around the globe for its gambling casinos and top-flight entertainment really be serious about racing? Definitely. Check the numbers. Las Vegas Motor Speedway was originally constructed with 107,000 seats, within a couple of years, some 22,000 more seats were added in a terrace dedicated to the late Dale Earnhardt. Most recently, a second new terrace, named for Richard Petty, provides an additional 14,000 seats. Do the math, then get your tickets here!
Of course, if you and your group still haven't had your fill of NASCAR, Las Vegas offers a surprising number of related attractions. Check out racing memorabilia at the Race Rock Cafe. Sega GameWorks next to the MGM Grand devotes an entire section to racing. The Sahara Hotel-Casino has teamed with Speedworld to offer the NASCAR driving experience via virtual reality, or you can fly around the track of their roller-coaster. Take the wheel of a go-cart at Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix. You'll love expanding your visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway into a weekend or more of fun and thrills!
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