Thursday, March 13, 2014

Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR Week

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(Jan) NASCAR ran two races on the 8th & 9th of March, the Nationwide Series Boyd Gaming 300 and the Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400. Add to that two night of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars at the dirt track and events at the LVMS Neon Garage and it was a fun week to be at the Las Vegas Track!

P3030008We arrived on Saturday, March 1st to meet up with our team of Workampers who would man the gates at the various RV lots in the infield and around the parameter of the track. Our duty was to check passes and stickers, park RVers in the correct spot, have them play by the rules and do all this with a big, welcoming smile. We were assigned to the Bull Ring RV Lot a short mile from the track on the 3-11 p.m. shift. 95% of the RV were delightful to work with. One couple even brought us dinner 4 nights in a row! Chuck baked them sour dough bread in return. Our gate was on dirt so it was quite dusty at times. It was also pretty warm standing in the hot sun most afternoons but nights were cold by time we got off work. We worked our shift with fellow Workamper Marge.

While we were at work all week at the Bull Ring RV Lot, we were parked about one mile from the Nellis Air Force Base Runway. Nellis is home to the Thunderbirds as well as many different Air Force, Marine, Navy & Army Air units. We got to watch the Thunderbirds practice their air show performances daily at 7 A.M. and then again in the afternoon. Amazing! Thrilling! Loud! We also watched B52 Bombers, A10s, F15s and the new F35 Joint Strike Fighters take off & land both during the day and at night. (We were glad that we did not have the graveyard shift; it would have been next to impossible to sleep!)

P3020033 P3020051Riding in 243 – C&J at left, Chuck sliding into through the car window at right. P3020050

(Chuck) The Richard Petty Ride Along Experience is a unique opportunity to ride very fast in a NASCAR Race Car. It is equipped with two seats and you sit in the front passenger seat. This was our choice for $100 and the second person for half price. This gave each of us three laps around the track. The speed was advertised as 165 mph. It was a very good time and I am glad that we did it. It seems to definitely put a smile on your face. If that is not enough, all it takes is more money and training time to sit in the driver’s seat. There are several combinations that can give you from eight to fifty laps for $450 to $3,500.

One of the benefits of working at the track was that we were given credentials which allowed us to wander most of the facility. We watched some of the action from the stands and the infield. The Neon Garage is the central location that is the garage area for the cars on race day. You can stand on the viewing areas and watch all of the work done on the cars prior to and during the race if a car is sent into his garage. The cost for the three day pass to the Neon Garage is $149, we were admitted at no cost. It was a real bonus.

IMG_20140304_100026_235The center area of the infield Neon Garage before Race Day. This area was filled with music, people and the roar of engines on Sunday. P3080021Perimeter of the Neon Garage on Race day packed with spectators and fans. With our pass we could watch the cars leave their garage. IMG_20140307_105625_096Looking down on Austin Dillon #3 getting ready to do practice laps on Saturday.

On the morning of the race a charity event is held which allows certain fans to walk on the track. We decided that is would be a good experience and it was quite a thrill to stand on the top of turn four. The one and one half mile track has a very steep bank of 20 degrees.

P3080050Jan on Turn 4 P3080055Cars on Pit Row before the Sprint Series Kobalt 400 Race IMG_20140309_112628_358Chuck w/#3
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(Jan) It was a major thrill to get to see the NASCAR cars in the Pit Area before the Kobalt 400 on Sunday and to watch the start of the race from behind the Pit Area.  We were standing behind #3 Austin Dillon’s Pit area at the start of the race and also, when he came screaming in for a pit stop under a yellow flag. They changed two ties and filled the car with fuel in what seemed like several seconds and off he went. We watched more of the race from the upper floor of the Neon Garage and then had to find our way back to our work station for our 3:00 shift.

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Overall it was an amazing experience and something we may chose to do again. Thanks Frank and Dianne for your heads up on where to join this Workamping Experience. (Click on any of the photos above to enlarge.)

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