Las Vegas Motor Speedway

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Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway logo.jpg
Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 2011.jpg
The Speedway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Location Clark County, near North Las Vegas, Nevada
Capacity 131,000
Owner Speedway Motorsports, Inc.
Address Las Vegas Motor Speedway
7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89115
Opened 1996
Major events NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Kobalt 400
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Boyd Gaming 300
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Smith's 350
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Global RallyCross Championship

SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals
TOYOTA NHRA Nationals
Tri-Oval Superspeedway
Surface Asphalt
Length 1.5 mi (2.41 km)
Banking Turns – 18-20°
Lap record 226.491 MPH (Arie Luyendyk, Treadway Racing, 1996, IZOD IndyCar Series)
The Bullring Oval
Surface Asphalt
Length 0.375 mi (0.604 km)
Dirt track
Surface Clay
Length 0.5 mi (0.8 km)
Drag strip "The Strip at LVMS"
Surface 1/4-mile asphalt

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, located in Clark County, Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada about 15 miles northeast of the Las Vegas Strip, is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) complex of multiple tracks for motorsports racing. The complex is owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

History[edit]

Following the closure of Stardust International Raceway at the end of 1970, plans were developed for a new racing facility in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Speedrome. It consisted of a road course and drag strip. Through changes of ownership, a 3/8-mile short track would become part of the complex by the end of the 1970s. A new $72 million superspeedway opened on the site in September 1996. The first race at the speedway was on September 15, 1996 with an Indy Racing League event which was won by Richie Hearn. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup (then Winston Cup) event was held March 1, 1998 with Mark Martin winning the inaugural event. In December 1998, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. purchased Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Veteran motorsports publicist Chris Powell was named the speedway's president and general manager and still holds that position today.

The Winston No Bull 5 Million Dollar Bonus was held at the track from 1999 to 2002. Jeff Burton won a million dollars in 2000 and Jeff Gordon won the bonus in 2001. Burton in 1999 and Sterling Marlin in 2002 were not eligible. The drag strip was rebuilt and relocated into the current The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 3/8 mile oval was rebuilt with a new pit lane and start-finish changed to the opposite side. In 1998, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was sold by Richie Clyne and Ralph Englestad to Speedway Motorsports, Inc., which was owned by Bruton Smith, for $215 million in December. During the 2004 and 2005 race seasons, Champ Car also held races at the speedway, which were both won by Sébastien Bourdais.

In 2006, plans were announced to reconfigure the track after the March 2006 Sprint Cup Series race, increasing the banking from 12° to 20°.[1] This reconfiguration entailed "progressive banking" which increases the degree of banking on a gradient towards the outside of the track. This increased side-by-side racing. The speedway also constructed a fan zone called The Neon Garage. This area has live entertainment, unprecedented access to the drivers and teams, such as viewing areas for fans to watch their favorite driver's car get worked on and talk to the drivers, and is home to the Winner's Circle. The speedway moved pit road 275 feet (84 m) closer to the grandstands, built a new media center and added a quarter-mile oval for Legends Cars, Bandoleros, and Thunder Roadsters, in the tri-oval area.

On August 8, 2006, the newly reconfigured track reopened to stock cars. Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and Las Vegas native, became the first Sprint Cup driver to test a stock car on the newly reconfigured track in his #2 Miller Lite Penske Dodge. Jeff Burton won the first Nationwide Series race on the new surface, taking a Monte Carlo SS to Victory Lane. The following day Jimmie Johnson drove a Chevrolet to Victory Lane, capturing the first Sprint Cup Series win on the new pavement.

In March 2011, Insomniac Events announced that their largest rave festival in North America, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), would take place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first time on June 24–26. More than 235,000 people attended the three-day event. The 2012 event was held June 8–10 with an attendance of 315,000 people. The 2013 event was held June 21–23 with an attendance of approximately 345,000 people. The 2014 event was held on 20-22 June. Insomniac has signed a ten-year contract with LVMS to host EDC through 2022.[2]

A road course designed by Romain Thievin was added in 2012. The course is 1.4 miles (2.3 km) long with 11 turns and an 1,800-foot (550 m) straight.[3]

2011 IndyCar accident[edit]

At the IZOD IndyCar World Championship there on October 16, 2011, the final IndyCar race of the IndyCar season was held at Las Vegas. However, the race was marred by a horrific crash during the 11th lap of the race which involved 15 cars, some of which burst into flames. The crash resulted in a red flag being shown very soon after, due to the remains of the cars and the amount of debris left on the track.[4] The crash was started by light contact between James Hinchcliffe and Wade Cunningham, but the problem soon turned into a large pile-up of cars.

Four drivers were taken to the nearby University Medical Center for treatment, one of whom was two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon who suffered severe blunt force trauma to his head after his car flew into the perimeter fence of the track and burst into flames. He was pronounced dead by the hospital two hours after the crash and the race was formally abandoned by IndyCar officials.[5] Instead of completing the race, the unaffected drivers drove a five-lap salute on the track in honor of Wheldon.[6]

Future of IndyCar at Las Vegas[edit]

In December 2011, IndyCar officials confirmed that they would not be returning to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway beyond the 2012 season and that the future of IndyCar at that track depended on what they learn from the ongoing investigation into the accident that killed Wheldon.[7]

Records[edit]

Track reconfiguration in 2006 increased the banking in the turns. Subsequent testing before the 2007 season showed significantly higher speeds, with Sprint Cup Series drivers recording unofficial laps at better than 185 mph (298 km/h).

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying: Joey Logano, 27.939 sec. (193.278 mph), 2014
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race: Kyle Busch, 3 hrs. 34 min. 40 sec. (119.513 mph), 2009 Shelby 427 (427.5-mile (688.0 km) distance used for first time in 2009)
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying: Brad Keselowski, 29.122 sec. (185.427 mph), 2010
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series Race: Jeff Burton, 2 hrs. 13 min. 13 sec. (135.118 mph), 2000
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying: Mike Skinner, 30.326 sec. (178.065 mph), 2006
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race: David Starr, 1 hr. 37 min. 3 sec. (135.394 mph), 2002

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Records[edit]

(As of March 10, 2013)[citation needed]

Most Wins 4 Jimmie Johnson
Most Top 5s 6 4 Drivers
Most Top 10s 10 Mark Martin
Starts 16 4 Drivers
Poles 3 Kasey Kahne
Most Laps Completed 4,093 Jeff Burton
Most Laps Led 513 Matt Kenseth
Avg. Start* 7.1 Kyle Busch
Avg. Finish* 9.5 Jimmie Johnson

* from minimum 5 starts.

Tracks[edit]

  • Inside Road Course: 1.1 miles (1.8 km), with a 0.76 miles (1.22 km) road configuration and a 0.33 miles (530 m) oval configuration
  • Outside Road Course: 2.4 miles (3.9 km)
  • The Bullring: 0.375 miles (604 m) paved oval
  • Dirt Track: 0.5 miles (800 m) clay oval
  • The Strip: 0.25 miles (1,320 ft) drag strip
  • Superspeedway: 1.5 miles (2.4 km) oval
  • Exotics Racing Course: 1.4 miles (2.25 km) road course, with a 1.2 miles (1.9 km) configuration
  • Off-road Course: an 850 by 750 ft (260 by 230 m) area which may accommodate multiple configurations

Other events[edit]

  • The RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship was held here in December 2013. Tim Burke won the event.
  • The track is the finish line for the 24th season of The Amazing Race broadcast on May 18, 2014. Dave and Connor O'Leary won the race.
  • Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), an electronic music festival hosted by Insomniac Events is held at the speedway each year.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2012 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway". about.com. 
  2. ^ "EDC: 8 more years of Vegas". Neon Vision Entertainment. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Jung, Carter (August 2012). "Exotics Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway". Road & Track 63 (12): 22. 
  4. ^ "IndyCar race red-flagged after 13-car incident". autosport. October 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Wheldon dies from injuries". autosport. October 16, 2011. 
  6. ^ "IndyCar's 5-lap salute to Wheldon". reddit. 
  7. ^ "IndyCar won't return to Las Vegas in 2012". usatoday. December 8, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°16′17″N 115°00′40″W / 36.27134°N 115.01112°W / 36.27134; -115.01112