This is a big week here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the stars of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series make their annual visit to the Nevada desert.
But there is much more to this event than just 146 laps of truck racing.
The week is getting started on Thursday when three of the drivers participate in a pre-event press conference at the new Hard Rock Café on the Las Vegas Strip. Mike Skinner, who won here last year, Todd Bodine and former Supercross world champion Ricky Carmichael will be helping promote the event for the speedway. And if you haven't visited the new Hard Rock, you should check it out. It's three stories tall, has two big bars, indoor and outdoor dining and a virtual memorabilia wall that is simply amazing.
On Friday, the team haulers will enter at noon and the teams will begin preparations for Saturday night's race. But Friday night, many of the top drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino signing autographs. This autograph session is free to the public and the line will open at 7 p.m. David Starr, Terry Cook, Stacy Compton and many more will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs.
The serious business for the teams starts on Saturday morning. The teams will get to work at 7 a.m. for this one-day show, where the teams will practice, qualify and race all in the same day. At noon, spectator gates will open and so does the Neon Garage.
Thanks to V Theater, the Neon Garage, will be loaded with entertainment. Fab Four, one of the top Beatles tribute bands, will headline the Neon Garage performance schedule. The Gregory Popovich Pet Theater and several other top Vegas acts will perform throughout the day as well. Gerry McCambridge from The Mentalist will also be on hand.
When you're not checking out the entertainment on the center stage, make sure to go to the team garage bays and get your souvenirs signed by your favorite drivers while their crews are hard at work preparing the trucks.
We will also have a racing exhibition by 600 Racing on the quarter-mile oval in the tri-oval of the superspeedway. Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters and Bandoleros will be part of the 600 Racing card.
At 3:30 p.m., qualifying for the Las Vegas 350 gets under way, and the drivers' meeting will follow at 5 p.m.
At 6 p.m., when dusk begins to form another perfect Nevada evening, we will begin the introductions for the Las Vegas 350. If you've been to this race before, you know the driver intros are a little unique here. The drivers will walk through the stands and greet the fans as they're introduced.
Once the driver intros are completed, please prepare for a stirring rendition of the national anthem. Vocal Soup, a group made up of legendary performers, will sing The Star Spangled Banner. Veteran Vegas headliner Clint Holmes, former Miss California, blonde bombshell Susan Anton and ex-Foreigner frontman Domenick Allen are part of this amazing quartet.
From there, sit back, relax and watch the greatest truck racers in the world compete for the next two hours to take home the Las Vegas 350 trophy. Then return to the Neon Garage to see the jubilation of Victory Lane.
It's going to be a great week, so make sure not to miss a minute of it.