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LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

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7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N.

Las Vegas, NV 89115

702-644-4444

website

Varies by race/event

Varies by race/event

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AT A GLANCE

What is it?

One of the premiere auto racing facilities in the world with a 1.5 mile oval, a drag strip, a dirt track, and more.

Where is it?

North of Las Vegas; about a 25-30 minute drive depending on traffic.

Is it worth the cost?

If you're a race fan, then absolutely.

What else do I need to know?

Traffic in an out of this place can be a nightmare on big race days. In fact, the entire city gets booked up when big events come to the track.

What's the bottom line?

Zoom, zoom, zoom.

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FULL REVIEW

Charlotte. Talladega. Daytona. Las Vegas.

Yes, you can put the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the short list of world-class racing facilities in the United States. It is that complete, that good, and that unique.

Spread across more than 1,500 acres about 12 miles north of Downtown Las Vegas, the facility boasts no fewer than nine separate race courses. The big attraction is, of course, the 1.5 mile oval that hosts a major NASCAR weekend in March each year. Although originally built with flatter corners to be able to accommodate F1 style racing, it was redone a few years later with the kind of high banking curves that NASCAR drivers covet.

There are 135,000 seats for fans plus lots of areas for people to bring in RVs and the like to watch drive-in movie theater style.

There's also a really cool infield facility called the Neon Garage. This is where the drivers and their teams set up camp during the big races and people willing to pay the $100 (or so) premium over the normal ticket prices can watch through windows as the cars are being worked on. Some drivers will also interact with fans, sign autographs, and pose for pictures. A big stage for entertainment and a food court make this a fun place to hang before and after the race.

Inside the superspeedway is the first of two road courses. It features 11 turns through its 1.1 mile route and an 1,100 foot straightaway. The "outside" road course, located (appropriately enough) outside the main grandstand area is 2.4 miles with 12 turns.

A dirt off-road course offers lots of muddy fun for the high jumping cars, trucks, and dirt bikes that race it; a dirt track provides more dirty fun; an NHRA-approved drag strip features funny cars and a periodic "Midnight Mayhem" event where people can race pretty much anything they want (although Avis would not approve if you took that white Malibu out for a drag); and a bull ring features a short paved oval and a dirt infield. The latter is used for things like demolition derbies and the former is used for all sorts of standard racing events and some offbeat ones. Anyone ever heard of waterless boat races? Well, basically they hook a boat up to a car without the benefit of a trailer and then they start racing. Mayhem ensues.

There's also a go-kart track available for private events.

If you want to see all of the above, take the race track tour. It's only $8.

The last track is a 1.8 mile road course for Exotics Racing, a precision driving school that puts you behind the wheel of supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and more.

Two other race experiences operate at the track. The Richard Petty Driving Experience lets people race real NASCAR style vehicles or new American muscle cars at ridiculous speeds on the main track while Dream Racing has a fleet specially modified Ferraris and other exotics that race on the inside road course.

While most speedway facilities around the country are only open for a few months when the weather is cooperating, the LVMS operates year-round with events scheduled on more than 260 days. It also hosts big festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic dance music party that brings in hundreds of thousands of people and their glow sticks.

Getting to the facility is a snap unless something big is happening. Then moving more than 100,000 people in and out of the area is a bit of a logistical nightmare, as it would be anywhere. Give yourself lots of extra time for traffic is all I'm saying.

You can check the LVMS website for events and tickets. Buy early for the big events as they usually sell out well in advance.

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