When transportation officials celebrated the completion of Interstate 15 north of the Spaghetti Bowl, the governor waved a checkered flag, and the first vehicle to take to the freeway was a race car.
The message was clear: The widening of Interstate 15 north to Craig Road was good news for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the crush of fans who head to the oval every year.
This weekend is the true test as 150,000 fans are expected to attend Sunday's big event.
"It's going to be much better," said Bob McKenzie, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation. "The completion of the construction and widening from Washington to Craig gives motorists going to the speedway a much safer highway. We don't expect any traffic jams between the Spaghetti Bowl and Craig."
Because of lane restrictions last year, throngs of motorists headed to the raceway were forced to squeeze into two lanes. This year, four lanes in each direction will be available.
Still, race officials and transportation representatives urge fans to arrive at the venue early to avoid heavy congestion and to enjoy pre-race festivities.
Officials also hope that motorists will use different routes, such as the Las Vegas Beltway and Las Vegas Boulevard. Using other forms of transportation is suggested also.
Fans can take limousines or cabs -- which enter a gate separate from general traffic -- or take advantage of a shuttle service.
Tickets for Coach America shuttles can be bought at the following locations: the bus plaza lobby at the Tropicana hotel-casino, the registration lobby at Treasure Island, the south lobby at the Riviera, the east lobby at the Las Vegas Hilton and the south lobby of the Golden Nugget.
Fans can buy their tickets online at https://nascar.coachamerica.com.
Tickets are available between 6 and 10 p.m. tonight and Saturday and between 7 a.m. and noon Sunday. Tickets are $30 per person today and Saturday and $40 on Sunday. Fans can buy a three-day pass for $40.
Shuttles leave the hotels from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today and between 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m Saturday and Sunday. The shuttles start departing the raceway immediately after the race.
And fans can take to the air.
Maverick Helicopters has dedicated the majority of its fleet to this year's race. Fans can fly from Maverick's helipad at 6075 Las Vegas Blvd., next to Mandalay Bay, to the speedway. Round-trip tickets cost $500; one-way is $300.
Maverick will provide complimentary ground transportation from select Strip resorts. Fans can reserve a seat by calling 888-261-4414 or visit maverickhelicopter.com
Tickets are still available for all races this weekend. Those interested in attending can call 800-644-4444 or hop online at lvms.com
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2904.