The subject of my last blog was the sheer insanity of the person who scheduled all those events at The Strip and The Bullring this past weekend. It's now the Wednesday after and I'm proud to say that the weekend was a success.
The staffs of both The Strip and the Bullring are made up of mostly part-time employees who come out here on the weekend for the simple fact that they love racing. They bust their butts for us and everyone at Las Vegas Motor Speedway appreciates their efforts. We had a couple of folks at The Strip who performed 'Ironman' duties this past weekend. They worked Friday night's test session and Midnight Mayhem, Saturday's Junior Dragster event in the morning and bracket show at night and then came back Sunday for another bracket race. Keep in mind that this is after working a full week at their regular jobs! Their driving force and motivation is because they just love racing (...or they just can't resist my warm and charming personality).
One of the best parts of this job is getting to know the behind-the-scene stories of the people who race at our track. On any given Saturday, we'll have more than 250 people racing at The Strip and close to 100 people racing at the Bullring. All of them are there for their love of the sport as well as their own unique motivation for racing. Some are living out childhood dreams, some are hoping to become a professional racer and some are just doing it because they are really, really bad at golf and need to find a way to spend their money. Whatever their reason for being there, everyone has something that motivates them and this week we got to see three people who are motivated by a cause take a well-deserved win.
At the Bullring on Saturday night, Dustin Ash returned to the Super Late Model division and proceeded to win in his very first night back. Dustin is an amazing talent and is one of two or three drivers at the Bullring who have the talent to go to the upper echelons of racing. Dustin scored the Nevada NASCAR title back in 2007 but had to sit out of Super Late Models for the 2008 season due to a lack of sponsorship support. Now he's back with an impressive new team that may serve as the launching pad that he needs. Dustin also announced that he's going to donate 25 percent of his race winnings to Speedway Children's Charities and will soon announce his "Race-a-Thon" program for the charity. Fans can sign up to sponsor Dustin's racing efforts and make pledges for each lap he completes during the 2009 season. (More details will be coming soon). Dustin has a strong desire to win, has proven that he can drive anything and is doing something to benefit others.
The racing for a cause theme isn't just for the stock car crowd. We also saw some highly-motivated individuals score wins at the drag races this past Saturday and Sunday. Super Pro driver Becky Phlegar was racing for a couple of causes of here own. Becky's father, Ron Landram, paid a special visit to the Speedway to say goodbye to the friends he raced against for more than 30 years. Ron has retired from racing, sold the E-Z Money Camaro that carried him to thousands of round wins and is moving to Idaho. He came out to the track in hopes of seeing his little girl follow up her season-opening win in the Wicked HP series. Becky didn't let Ron down as she raced to her second win in four races this season. That alone is pretty special, what's even more special is that Becky is back behind the wheel after missing most of last season because she was pregnant! Her son, Mason, popped out on January 12 (a great day to be born I might add - he shares a birthday with Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and me) and as soon as Becky got behind the wheel she started winning again. With two wins in four races and only seven more events to go, Mason might be the good-luck charm for Becky in the championship chase. Becky gave her dad a great going-away present and proved that she made the right decision when she strapped back in to her Chevelle.
John Randell, who won in the Junior Dragster Thunder class on Saturday, is another driver who is racing for a cause. John found out last season that he had juvenile diabetes. Since that time, he's been on a mission to find out as much about diabetes as he possibly can while educating others. John designed and produced brochures that he has been distributing at the races and car displays throughout the region. At 12 years of age most kids are very shy and don't want to draw attention to themselves and the challenges they face. Not John! He's been aggressive in his efforts and secured a printing sponsor to produce his D.E.A. (Diabetes Education Awareness) information kits as well as a vinyl graphics sponsor to do a special themed D.E.A. wrap on his car. John is doing an incredible job and all of us at LVMS are proud of what he has accomplished so quickly. He's an inspiration for everyone. His win on Saturday morning was his first since being diagnosed with diabetes and it completes another chapter in the very interesting story of a unique driver.
That's three examples of three winners who were racing for a cause this weekend. Just as author Malvin Wald stated that there are "Eight million stories in the naked city," there are probably just as many interesting stories floating around in the various pit areas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The only way you can really find out is to experience it for yourself. Sometimes you have to do a little digging to get to know the colorful characters but it's much better than being force fed your entertainment through the television set.
Back to pushing tickets...
Back to pushing tickets...
The Bullring is off this weekend as the drivers and crews repair their cars from all the carnage from this past weekend's rolling demolition derby. Those guys get back at it on May 16 when the Super Clean Modified Series headlines another great weekend of Whelen All-American Racing Series action.
This weekend The Strip is active with a test 'n' tune on Friday night, the Wicked HP Championship Series on Saturday night and the Western States Corvette Council Drags and Street Wars on Sunday. Admission each day is only $10 for adults and just $5 for kids 6-12. 5 and under are always free.
Saturday's Strip event is a great night to get out of the house and just relax at the races. We're hosting our "Hot Rods, Hot Dogs, Bikes and Budweiser" Cruise Night in the Club Nitro area. Local car and motorcycle clubs will be on hand displaying classic street rods, old race cars, custom projects and unique choppers (it's free admission if you bring your classic car or motorcycle out to The Strip). Smack dab in the middle of the car show you'll be able to buy a $1 hot dog and $1 Budweiser while looking at the cars or just chatting with your friends.
The action on the track this weekend is very special to us as we host the second annual Jason Whitenack Memorial Motorcycle Shootout. Our local motorcycle class pays tribute to our late, great class champion with a special purse, special trophies and great memories of the guy who helped build motorcycle drag racing in Las Vegas. Jason's father Dave and the entire Whitenack family have worked hard on this event and we expect a tremendous turnout of racers from all across the region for this special event.
With that, so long for this edition of Blair's Blog and I hope I can come up with something special for next week. We have the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series invading The Strip with more than 200 nostalgia racers as well as an incredible car show produced by Art Kam and the Las Vegas Cruisin' Association. I'm trying to come up with some "American Graffiti" themed story to get you in the mood for some old school racing action.
For more information on John Randell's D.E.A. campaign you can shoot him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org -or- you can call 702-812-0621.
For more information on Speedway Children's Charities, visit the website through the link at LVMS.com