Fans face easier trip to Las Vegas NASCAR races this year

Racing fans heading to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for NASCAR weekend can expect a smoother drive to the event than in past years, organizers said.

The construction on the 5-mile stretch of Interstate 15 leading to the speedway that caused heavy congestion last year will be complete by the triple-header weekend March 2-4, said Chris Powell, president and general manager of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“We don’t anticipate having any type of issues,” Powell said.

More than 100,000 NASCAR fans from around the country and the world are expected at the speedway for a weekend of racing that begins with the Stratosphere Qualifying and the Stratosphere 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck series March 2 and wraps up with the Pennzoil 400 on March 4.

Fans also have several mass transportation options if they don’t want to drive.

For the first time, the speedway will partner with ride-sharing service Lyft.

Dedicated pick-up and drop-off areas for Lyft will be outside of Gate A and Gate P on the southwest side of the speedway.

“The speedway is the venue for huge events … They don’t come bigger than NASCAR,” said Yacob Girma, Lyft Las Vegas general manager. “We’re super pumped and super excited to get started with NASCAR. What we always look to do is provide safe, reliable and affordable transportation to the attendees.”

Powell said he doesn’t have an idea of how many people might use the service, but he’s hopeful that with the dedicated drop off and pick up areas, more people will gravitate toward the service.

“This whole rideshare industry is still relatively in its infancy, and so I think it will continue to grow and we’re really excited about our new partnership with Lyft,” Powell said.

Fans also should download the speedway’s smartphone application, which has information about schedules, tickets and driver appearances, along with information about transportation and maps, he said.

The RaceDay Express shuttle will also return this year, moving riders between the speedway and the Strip with stops at Planet Hollywood, treasure Island, Stratosphere, Tropicana and Main Street Station.

Round-trip passes are now $124 for the weekend and $90 for Sunday only.

After scheduling conflicts led to its cancellation last year, the popular Hauler parade returns March 1 to kick off the weekend. About 40 festive 18-wheeled trucks are set to be escorted north on the Strip that evening before heading out to Interstate 15 toward the speedway.

Powell said the speedway has come a long day since he joined the organization in 1998, two years after the $72 million superspeedway site opened.

“The event was almost known locally for its traffic issues,” Powell said. “Everybody recognized that this event is important to our community … We all worked together to make NASCAR in Las Vegas a more pleasant experience for those who come to take part in it.”

This is also the first year Las Vegas will host two triple-header NASCAR weekends. The first race of the 2018 NASCAR playoffs is set for Sept. 14-16.

Contact Madelyn Reese at mreese@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0497. Follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

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