Go to Las Vegas' NASCAR Weekend early and stay late for speedway fun

When a major event comes to town, organizers fret over counterfeit tickets, bogus media passes and other popular tricks used to sneak into attendance without paying hefty ticket prices.

This year, security officers patrolling the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will target spectators who manufacture fake handicap placards to avoid the long stroll from the raceway's parking lots. Apparently, former UCLA quarterback Cade McNown isn't the only person perfectly capable of walking who has no moral conscience when it comes to taking spaces reserved for the disabled.

Jeff Motley, the speedway's vice president of public relations, said tracks across the country have had problems with motorists borrowing handicap placards or producing counterfeit ones. Motley said he isn't aware of that being an issue at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but parking enforcement will be on the lookout.

"Handicap parking spaces are the closest to the speedway, and the last thing we want to see is the lot to fill up with borrowed or counterfeit passes," he said. "They will be looking to make sure they are valid."

Ahh, the things you can do with advancements in computer technology. No, seriously, the things you can do. Check this out: This year the speedway introduced a new application for iPhones and Android phones. The applications offer motorists up-to-the-minute updates on the traffic situation and suggestions on the least congested roads and parking lots. Once spectators are inside the track, it will tell them things like where the nearest first-aid station is or, most important, the closest place to buy beer.

Track officials recommend that motorists headed to the race from the east side of town use Las Vegas Boulevard. A new public parking lot is available on the south end of the speedway property at the corner of Las Vegas and Hollywood boulevards.

Coming from the west side? It is suggested you all hop on the eastbound Las Vegas Beltway (Interstate 215). The stretch of freeway at North Fifth Street in North Las Vegas is closed for construction, but I've been told that two lanes of traffic will be diverted off the Beltway at Fifth Street and right back on. There are no traffic signals to cause backups, and commuters who use that route regularly said the brief detour is no big deal.

Race officials also suggest that spectators arrive early to avoid any unforeseen problems, like traffic accidents.

That means longer tailgating sessions, so race officials and law enforcement authorities also suggest staying a bit late after the race. That way, motorists can let the traffic thin out and allow the alcohol to "burn off," Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Joe Fackrell said.

Those who ignore that advice should be aware that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will have a DUI van on site, so they will be watching and you do not want to end up in a paddy wagon. Really, there is no excuse. The speedway will provide designated drivers -- for free -- for any spectators who have over-imbibed.

Don't want to deal with it? Take a bus or, if you're rich or happened to hit a Royal Flush, hop on a helicopter.

Coach America will shuttle fans to the raceway from downtown Las Vegas and the Strip. Round-trip shuttle tickets are $35 apiece on Friday and Saturday and $45 on Sunday. Three-day passes cost $65.

Between 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each day, the buses will depart every 30 to 45 minutes from the Golden Nugget, the Tropicana, Treasure Island, the Riviera and the Las Vegas Hilton. There are no reservations; rides are on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be purchased in the hotel lobbies.

Impromptu Q&A? Why not?

Q: Can my young child ride for free?

A: Yes, children under 3 (they call them "lap children," which sounds more like a Chihuahua, but whatever) can ride for free.

Q: Can I leave the race early?

A: Yes, but you won't have a ride. The first shuttle departs after the race.

Q: Are there discounts for seniors?

A: Unfortunately, no.

Q: Will I still be stuck in traffic?

A: Probably not. The shuttles take a special route through Nellis Air Force Base.

OK, so you have some extra money and want to fly over all this congestion?

Go for it. Maverick Helicopters, at the south end of the Strip, will zip spectators 20 miles to the speedway for $500 per person. The helicopters drop passengers off right outside Turn 2. Maverick also provides shuttles from hotel-casinos on the Strip or within five miles of the Strip corridor.

Those interested in hiring a private coach to get to the speedway can do that as well. Race officials say they vouch for the quality and reliability of Key Tours.

That's about all there is to know about transportation and the race.

If you want to learn more about the race itself, check out Thursday's special section because all I know is it's really loud and the cars make a bunch of left turns.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at 702-387-2904, or send an e-mail to roadwarrior@reviewjournal .com. Please include your phone number.


Las Vegas Motor Speedway: lvms.com (you can download an app here)

Coach America: coachamerica.com or (702) 948-7360

Maverick: maverickhelicopter.com

Key Tours: keytourslv.com or 1-800-261-2691

Review-Journal race coverage: lvrj.com/motorsports