Rick Eckert is one of the most popular dirt late model racers in the world. Always a contender for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship, Eckert will spend a week off from his series to compete in a late model companion race during the World of Outlaws Sprint Series event March 9-10 at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While Eckert earned a $10,000 victory last week at Volusia Speedway Park in his usual Raye Vest Excavating/J&J Steel Rocket, he'll be racing for fun and a shot at the $3,000 winner's share of the purse each night when he competes for the first time in Las Vegas. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series also will be racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the weekend. "I've never been to Vegas," said Eckert, 40, of York, Pa., a two-time Xtreme DirtCar Series champion and the 1999 winner of the $100,000 Dream at Eldora Speedway. "I've seen the speedway on TV and it looks like a really neat facility. It'll be cool to go there and race. You may never get another chance, you never know. I've got some friends out in California and I'm going to drive their car." Pennsylvania is known for its sprint car racing, and while Eckert might not be a member of the vaunted Pennylvania Posse, he still is looking forward to competing on the same nights as the World of Outlaws Sprint Series. "It's pretty cool because around home that's how I grew up," he said. "I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, which is a big sprint car area. When I started racing it was sprint cars and late models every night so I was used to seeing them all the time. I have some buddies that run that deal so it'll be neat to hang out with them, too." Eckert's focus March 9-10 will no doubt be on finding a way to Victory Lane at the half-mile oval, but he'll also try to find a little time to sneak away from the track and take in all the glitz and glamour Las Vegas has to offer, especially seeing The Strip for the first time. "I'm looking forward to racing the most, but I wouldn't mind if there was some time to gamble a little bit," he said. "I'm not much of a gambler, but I'll play a little bit." The dirt late model races during the Las Vegas World of Outlaws Nationals are independent and not sanctioned. Each evening's racing program will consist of qualifying races and a $3,000 to-win, 30-lap feature event. Tickets for the World of Outlaws Sprint Series and Las Vegas Late Model doubleheader are on sale by calling 800-644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com. Dirt Late Model racer entry information is available by calling the speedway office at 702-632-8213.