Teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will start arriving in Las Vegas late this week for Saturday night’s Las Vegas 350k race.
The struggling economy will hurt the crowd size but at least 40,000 fans are expected, which will make it bigger than any other sports event in Nevada … except the NASCAR Cup and Nationwide races in the spring.
Ron Hornaday Jr. holds a 217-point lead over Matt Crafton in the points standings, with Mike Skinner — last year’s race winner — 29 points behind Crafton. Hornaday has won the series championship three times but never has won at Las Vegas.
Six races are left in the season.
350 laps, miles or kilometers?
Calling the upcoming truck race the Las Vegas 350 is nothing more than trying to get you to think the race is longer than it is.
It is not 350 laps or 350 miles.
It is 350 kilometers and that equals 146 laps and 219 miles.
Add 54 laps and we’ll call it the Las Vegas 200. Tack on 31 miles and we’ll make it the Las Vegas 250.
Until then, it’s the Las Vegas 350k.
Truck drivers at Stratosphere
The Stratosphere will host a free autograph session 7 to 8 p.m. Friday with several top truck drivers expected to attend.
Topping the list is Crafton and previous Las Vegas winners Todd Bodine (2005) and David Starr (2002). Others are Stacy Compton, Johnny Sauter, Terry Cook, Brian Scott, Jason White, Chad McCumbee, Timothy Bell, T.J. Peters, Tayler Malsam and Brian Ickler.
Ickler will compete for Billy Ballew Motorsports in his first truck race at LVMS. The 23-year-old from San Diego and former desert racer is a protege of Las Vegas native Kyle Busch, who won the last truck race but won’t be competing at LVMS.
But Busch’s father, Tom Busch, will be spotting for Ickler. Ickler is 23rd in points with a pole and two top-five finishes in 10 truck races.
Go to lvms.com for more information on the race.
Four-wide distraction at NHRA
NHRA, ESPN and zMax Dragway made a big mistake by hyping Sunday’s four-lane Funny Car and Top Fuel exhibition races.
I’m sure it was cool to be there for it, but it was overplayed and overshadowed the two-lane competition of the championship eliminations at the track near Charlotte, N.C.
The Charlotte Observer’s thatsracin.com Web site played up the four-laners bigger than the actual racing.
Why tease drag racing fans with something they likely won’t see again?
NHRA officials said it was the first four-lane drag race ever sanctioned by the organization and might be the first run in more than 30 years. When it was tried in the 1970s, there was a guardwall separating lanes two and three like at zMax.
Four-lane drag racing makes sense, but not with Funny Cars and Top Fuelers. It makes sense in some NHRA Sportsman racing and amateur events when it offers more runs for racecars.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway was built for the four-lane concept but cost cutbacks prevented the speedway from completing the project.
No dragstrip is busier than LVMS and putting in two more lanes would pay off in time.
But not for Top Fuel and Funny Car.
Bullring bull crap
Robert Ewing won Saturday night’s 40-lap Super Late Model feature at the LVMS Bullring but the night, apparently, won’t be remembered for that.
It’s hard for fans to focus on racing when they see police cars and an ambulance with emergency lights flashing in the pit area.
The Bullring judges are still trying sort out what happened on the track and in the pits between the teams of Taylor Barton and Jeff Connors.
We’ll wait for the official ruling before we sort the facts. A couple drivers in the Demolition Derby also were seen wearing Metro police bracelets.