Traffic jams are commonplace at major sporting events here, and the pattern won’t be broken Saturday before and after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
By itself, the anticipated crowd of 40,000 for the Las Vegas 350k at 6:30 p.m. won’t tie up Interstate 15 in the manner of annual spring visits by NASCAR Sprint Cup events.
But traffic congestion for the event will be compounded by major I-15 construction that runs north of downtown to the Cheyenne exit.
Speedway and Nevada Highway Patrol officials encourage drivers to avoid the freeway and suggest using Las Vegas Boulevard or the Las Vegas Beltway (Interstate 215) as alternate routes to the track.
The gates open at noon, and local amateur races will be run on the quarter-mile oval built into the frontstretch of the 1.5-mile track from 12:30 p.m. to 3 to entice early arrivals. Truck race qualifying begins at 3:30.
Entertainment throughout the afternoon will be provided for those paying $10 to enter the infield’s Neon Garage.
“We have given the race fans quite the incentive to arrive early,” LVMS president Chris Powell said. “We realize we are still dealing with the highway construction on Interstate 15, so we hope people will come early and enjoy the day at the speedway.”
Coach America shuttle buses will begin running to the speedway from the Golden Nugget at 10 a.m. Saturday. A round-trip pass is $25.
• GOING FOR THREE — Veteran Mike Skinner, 52, is attempting to become the first driver to win three truck races at the speedway. He won in 2006 and last year.
“Some tracks just really seem to fit drivers, and Las Vegas fits me really well,” Skinner said. “It’s fast and it’s under the lights, so there is a lot of grip, and guys have options of where they want to try to make their truck work.”
Skinner, who drives the No. 5 Toyota owned by NFL wide receiver Randy Moss of the New England Patriots, has started on the pole three of the last five years.
• ONE BUSCH ATTENDING — Kyle Busch won last week’s truck race, but this weekend he’s in Dover, Del., for Sprint Cup and Nationwide series races.
His father, Tom Busch, will be at the speedway Saturday, spotting for San Diego native Brian Ickler, who will race the No. 15 Toyota fielded by Billy Ballew Motorsports. Kyle Busch drives for Ballew in the truck series and is developing Ickler for a full-time NASCAR career.
Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.