If there has ever been a week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with more fan events, I wasn't here for it - and I've been here almost 11 years.
This week promises to have something for everyone. Whether you like drag racing, sprint cars, stock cars, poker, boxing, watching your kids dress up for Halloween, autograph seeking or are simply in a charitable mood, we have it all this weekend.
The racing action is highlighted by the Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. This is the next to last event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and titles are up for grabs in all four professional categories.
No division is bringing more intrigue or excitement than Funny Car. Robert Hight, the son-in-law of legendary racer John Force, holds a slim 13-point lead over his sister-in-law Ashley Force Hood. Hood, Force's 26-year old daughter, is poised to be the first woman to ever win a professional Funny Car NHRA championship. Tony Schumacher is trying to hold off a fearsome foursome of Larry Dixon, Cory McClenathan, Antron Brown and Brandon Bernstein in Top Fuel. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hector Arana and Ed Krawiec are in a tight battle. The only division that is settled is Mike Edwards in Pro Stock.
Sportsman racing begins Thursday and the pros qualify on Friday and Saturday. Final eliminations are set for Sunday at 11 a.m.
But the events surrounding the racing begin on Wednesday. The annual Cards For Kids Charity Poker Tournament benefitting Speedway Children's Charities will be Wednesday at the Cannery Hotel and Casino on Craig Road. Bernstein, Dixon, McLenathan, Greg Anderson and Karen Stoffer are just some of the NHRA drivers who will test their skill against race fans and poker enthusiasts. Walk-ups are welcome. We deal the cards at 7 p.m.
Thursday night brings us the annual NHRA Fanfest on Fremont Street. More than 25 of the biggest names in drag racing will be on hand to sign autographs beginning at 6 p.m. This event has typically brought hundreds of fans to downtown Las Vegas and is the most popular driver autograph session on the NHRA circuit.
Throughout the weekend, we will be collecting canned goods at the entrance gates. All food collected will be delivered to the City Mission of Las Vegas. This is a great opportunity to help the less fortunate as we approach the holiday season.
And in the midst of all the heart-pounding drag racing action on Saturday will be a little head pounding as well. Thanks to Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Productions, we will have professional sparring taking place in the midway between pro sessions on Saturday afternoon. Professional boxers Sugar Shane Mosley and Victor Ortiz will be on hand to sign autographs as well.
While the big guys are knocking heads, our youngest race fans will be competing for prizes in our annual Halloween costume contest. The judging will take place near the boxing ring on Saturday afternoon.
And if all this isn't enough, we also have Speedfest 2009 at the Bullring on Saturday night. Our 3/8-mile paved oval will play host to a 50-lap Supermodified race, USAC Western States Midgets, a 120-lap SRL Southwest Tour Series feature, a Bomber Enduro and Legends racing.
I'm tired just writing this, but as you can see, there's something for everybody this weekend. We hope to see you here, there and everywhere this weekend.