The biggest stars in NASCAR will spend the first week of December in Las Vegas, and you can see them in a unique atmosphere.
And it will be free.
Plans are expected to be released today for a new element to the Sprint Cup Champions Week that will take place in Las Vegas for the first time after being in New York City since 1981.
The best news for racing fans -- especially those in Southern Nevada -- is that the doors to Champions Week for the first time are being opened to regular folks.
Access will be limited this year, but fans can expect it grow in coming years.
The move to Las Vegas was made thanks to the urging of Las Vegas Motor Speedway power brokers Bruton Smith and Chris Powell and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which is ponying up more than $500,000 to NASCAR for each of the next three years.
"Las Vegas doesn't have to take a back seat to New York City in any category," said Powell, the LVMS president. "And we won't have to worry about it snowing that week like they do in New York."
Smith -- chairman and founder of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns LVMS -- began lobbying NASCAR to move the event to Las Vegas once he bought the track in 1998.
"We're glad NASCAR came around to our way of thinking," Powell said.
And the speedway was intent on creating an event that could fans get close to the Cup stars.
The traditional events remain primarily closed to the public. But over the past couple of months the speedway worked with NASCAR to create the "Chasers for Charity Fanfest," which will be on the afternoon of Dec. 2 -- a Wednesday -- in the speedway's infield Neon Garage.
"This event will bring the drivers and the fans closer together and raise money for charity in the process," Powell said.
Fans will not be charged to enjoy race-car displays and entertainment before the top 12 drivers walk the red carpet to attend a roast of the champion by his Chase peers.
A limited number roast tickets (300) will be sold for $250 apiece, or fans can watch for free on closed-circuit TV in the Neon Garage.
The Fanfest promises to be the highlight of the week.
The five-day celebration culminates with the Dec. 4 banquet at Wynn Las Vegas, where 300 tickets have been made available to fans through tracks, teams and sponsors. That might not sound like many, but it's 300 more than were offered at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
One day, I believe, the banquet will take place in a venue larger than the one hosting it this year at Wynn so even more fans can attend and more money can be raised for charities. Until then, we have Fanfest.
The Fanfest afternoon will benefit the Las Vegas chapter of Speedway Children's Charities and some of the drivers' foundations.
The speedway is trying to minimize its expenses to maximize charitable contributions from Fanfest. You can volunteer to help with the event by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
It promises to be a memorable event, and you can be part of it.
Jeff Wolf's motor sports column is published Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0247. Visit Wolf's motor sports blog at lvrj.com/blogs/heavypedal/ throughout the week.