NASCAR Weekend:  $133 million for Las Vegas economy


The 2003 NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas had a $133 million impact on the local economy, the greatest impact in the six-year history of the event.

            And according to an economist at UNLV, the total effect was more than doubled that amount.

            The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority¿s annual study revealed that the final number of $133,451,000 was 9.9 percent greater than in 2002.  The numbers are based on interviews with race fans during the March 1-2 weekend and reflect the amount of money spent ¿ both gaming and non-gaming ¿ during the four-day event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

            ¿Despite an impending war and a very difficult economy, NASCAR Weekend once again delivered an economic bonanza to Las Vegas,¿ said Las Vegas Motor Speedway general manager Chris Powell.  ¿Given the uncertainty facing our nation between Feb. 27 and March 2, the fact that the total amount of revenue generated increased almost 10 percent is remarkable.  This event has become one of the most anticipated stops on the NASCAR circuit for hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.¿

            The event weekend is estimated to have drawn more than 300,000 people through the gates at the speedway.  The events included the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 

NASCAR Winston Cup event, the Sam¿s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, Friday¿s qualifying day, two nights of the J.D. Byrider Las Vegas Nationals for the O¿Reilly World of Outlaws and a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series event at the Bullring.

According to Keith Schwer of the economics research department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, each dollar brought into the area creates a little more than another additional dollar. Based on Schwer¿s analysis, the event generated approximately $291.8 million as the money cycles throughout the Las Vegas economy.

            ¿Once the money comes into Las Vegas, it gets spent more than once,¿ Schwer said. ¿The hotel that took the initial money then pays an employee with part of that money and that employee invests it in the local economy. That¿s how a dollar turns over and generates more revenue.¿

            There are varying schools of thought on the domino effect of dollars tumbling through an economy.  Some economists theorize that a dollar spent can be re-spent as many as seven times in a community.  If that were the case, the NASCAR Weekend¿s impact on the Las Vegas economy could approach $1 billion.

The NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas is highly anticipated each year by the area¿s business community.  Michael Gaughan, chairman of Coast Resorts, was quoted in a Feb. 20 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal as saying, ¿This is probably bigger than all 10 days of (the National Finals Rodeo) combined.  (NASCAR fans) are all good customers. They all come and spend money.¿

The 2004 event almost certainly will be bigger as LVMS officials have announced the construction of a 22,000-seat grandstand, the Dale Earnhardt Terrace.  Construction is expected to begin in early June.

Powell said the speedway would continue to have a huge impact on the community and state.

¿We¿ve been reading about the declining number of visitors and the lower room rates in Las Vegas for several months,¿ Powell said.  ¿It¿s rewarding to know that the  

2003 NASCAR Weekend was able to buck that trend.  We want to make this event bigger and better each year.  It takes a collective effort between the speedway, local government and our business community to maintain that constant growth.¿

            Following is a breakdown of studies conducted by the LVCVA over the past three years.


                                                2001                2002                2003                since ¿02

Total event attendance            126,000            139,400            145,275          + 4.2%

Out-of-town Visitors                78,875              89,250              97,075           + 8.8%

Total expenditures              $97,163,700    $121,425,500   $133,451,000       + 9.9%



Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. In addition to LVMS, the Company owns and operates the following premiere speedways: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Lowe's Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.  The Company provides souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiary, and manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars through its 600 Racing subsidiary.  The Company also owns Performance Racing Network (PRN), which broadcasts syndicated motorsports programming to more than 725 stations nationwide including XM Satellite and  For more information, visit the company's website at