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Vegas visitors gush about race: ‘The whole thing was amazing’

Updated November 19, 2023 - 6:11 pm

At Harry Reid International Airport on Sunday, racing fans leaving the city said they were happy they traveled here for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.

“I think it lived up to the hype,” said Luke Umana, 33.

Umana, who was heading back to Springfield, Illinois, after taking in Las Vegas’ first Formula One event with a friend, said watching the race against the backdrop of the Strip made the event really enjoyable and entertaining.

But Umana noted some of the hiccups that came with the first-time staging of the Grand Prix. He cited being woken up at his room at Aria by the cars out racing in the wee hours of Friday morning after the first practice session was delayed by a water valve cover.

“I think that there’s some kinks they need to work out, but I think, overall, it’s going to be well-received,” Umana said.

Angie and Fernando Munoz, of San Diego, said they hope to come back for another Las Vegas Grand Prix, and bring more family members.

Angie Munoz, 53, said it was “mind-boggling” how all the work came together to transform the Strip and nearby streets into an F1 racetrack, and noted the event was very organized.

“The whole thing was amazing,” she said.

Lupe Ramos, who traveled with her husband from Southern California, described the event as “awesome.” Ramos had been to Formula One races in Mexico and Monaco. She said that while she thought she wasn’t going to like the Las Vegas track, she ended up loving it.

“It was a great vibe and the turnout was awesome,” Ramos said.

Meanwhile, after the Transportation Security Administration predicted that 98,000 travelers would depart from Harry Reid International on Sunday following the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the Federal Aviation Administration announced long departure delays Sunday afternoon.

Harry Reid International Airport spokesperson Joe Rajchel said a combination of factors including a high volume of aviation traffic, including commercial and private flights, as well as high winds, contributed to delayed flights both out of and into the Las Vegas airport on Sunday.

According to FlightAware.com, the total number of delayed flights into and out of Harry Reid on Sunday, as of about 6 p.m., was 716, with eight cancellations of flights into and out of the airport.

FlightAware.com also reported at 6 p.m. that the airport was seeing departure delays of up to an hour and a half due to volume. Flights to Las Vegas were also delayed at their point of origin by an average of about an hour and 13 minutes because of wind, while airborne flights into the city were also delayed an average of an hour and 21 minutes, the website stated.

“What we’re seeing is a high volume of traffic trying to depart,” Rajchel said.

Referencing the TSA’s traveler projection on Sunday, Rajchel said that’s a high amount, but not a record.

According to a TSA news release issued last week, the two busiest days ever for travelers departing Harry Reid — the total amount who passed through TSA screening checkpoints — both happened within the past three weeks.

The busiest was Oct. 29, with the TSA screening 103,400 people. The second busiest was Nov. 5, with 103,285, according to the TSA.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com. Contact Taylor Lane at tlane@reviewjournal.com.

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