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The Vegas Racecation 2014

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

Talk about completely out of order- here it is almost two weeks out from the annual Vegas Racecation and I am just now getting the post up. Urg…forgive me!  This year the Vegas Racecation included some new experiences I hope that you will enjoy hearing about! Be warned- this is LONG but rewards you because it’s photo rich!

Misty and I picked up our credentials at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during her lunch on Thursday from her day job! This  was a harrowing feat because Misty works by McCarran Airport which is probably about 30 miles from the track.  We were able to make it back and forth however, between Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Misty’s work (which is blocks away from McCarran Airport) within the hour without breaking traffic laws- so YEY us.  I picked Misty back up after work so we could head directly to South Point Casino so that we could go to an autograph appearance where several drivers were appearing. So we rush over get parked and go into the Casino and can not FIND the autograph appearance…anywhere.  We were all over that place. We gave up and went to Steak N Shake for dinner since it was right there.

Friday morning saw me getting to the track insanely early and alone- Misty had to tie up some important work business and would join me later in the afternoon.  When I first ventured out of the media center and into the Neon Garage area- it was still fairly early and not crowded at all- so it was no wonder that a Pee Wee Herman impersonator riding his bike through the lower level caught my eye:

Pee Wee Herman

A leisurely ride through the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Neon Garage on Friday morning for Pee Wee. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Only in Vegas right?!

During first practice I hung around the upper level of the Tony Stewart garage trying to catch a picture of Tony Stewart or Chad Johnston.. Luckily I caught Tony arriving to his pit stall with business manager Eddie Jarvis:

The Bossman Arrives

Tony Stewart arrives at his garage bay at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in Tony’s garage so I knew what he was counting here:

Tony says 1

Tony counts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway…ONE (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

TWO!

TWO! Tony Stewart counts in the garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

While Tony was on track and while attempting to take pictures of Chad– I caught sight of someone blowing up on track! I tried to get a picture of it but the herd of people standing on the hauler were in the way. Ended up it was Martin Truex Jr…and he brought it into the garage and it died not far from where I was stationed:

Martin Truex Jr Stops

Martin Truex Jr’s car died in the middle of the garage after experiencing engine difficulties. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Checking Under The Hood

Checking under the hood of Martin Truex Jr’s Furniture Row Chevy. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

That was pretty much the most eventful thing that happened during first practice that I saw first hand anyway. After practice Misty joined me at the track and we watched the new Knockout Qualifying and stuck around as the the day turned into evening at the track:

Sunset at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunset at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (photo credit: Amy K. Marbach)

We were staying for the Kobalt Kampout because special guest were going to be Jimmie Johnson AND Chad Knaus.  Unfortunately the lighting during the Kampout wasn’t the best for pictures but here you go:

Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus talk to the crowd at the Kobalt Kampout

Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus talk to the crowd and answer questions at the Kobalt Kampout at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Saturday saw us back at the track quite early! Misty and I each staked out different areas for optimum picture opportunities:

Kurt Busch Talks About Completing the Double

Kurt Busch talks in the media center about recent news that he would be doing the Indy 500/Coca-Cola 600 double in May. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Rolling out the 14

Rolling out the 14 and getting her ready for driver Tony Stewart at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Kevin Harvick sits in the garage by

Kevin Harvick sits in his garage bay at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Working on Paul Menard's Chevy

Working on Paul Menard’s Chevy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

We see you too Chad Knaus

Crew chief of the 48 Lowes Chevy, Chad Knaus, stands on his team hauler during practice at Las Vegas Motor Speeday. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Practice didn’t go too well for Tony. I could tell without even seeing the numbers (hey in my defense I was running around the garage most of the day):

Greg Zipadelli and Chad Johnston

Greg Zipadelli and Chad Johnston in Tony Stewart’s garage bay at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

After the practice and a quick pit stop at Misty’s house we headed to the MGM Grand to see the Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick / Coca-Cola Racing Q&A session!  When we got to the MGM we discovered it was also apparently UFC Fight night. Urg.  Parking was a zoo.  We rushed to the Sports Book where the Tony and Danica appearance was and joined the fans only to find ourselves getting pushed and shoved. It was seriously rougher than the mosh pit at an Ozzy Osbourne concert (and yes I do know this first hand- June 1992 at the Cow Palace in SF).  While some of it may have been fans- most of the shoving I was subjected to appeared to be (confused and some already drunk) UFC fans trying to make their way to the arena. It kind of sucked planning wise. It would have been better if they would have been able to get Q&A in an area that wasn’t in the middle of the casino in front of the Sports Book of all places and not just for that- but in my opinion it was kind of hard to hear Tony- he’s a soft talker sometimes.  Misty was able to get some pictures despite it being on the casino floor:

Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick

Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick do a fan Q&A at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Tony Stewart answers questions

Tony Stewart answers questions at a fan Q&A at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

Finally it was RACE DAY. I drive us to the track on Sunday in the HHR (which I don’t have anymore- I know- I traded it in for a brand new Equinox) and we pull into the infield and are directed towards a row to park- and I can see the flagger way down at the end of the row waiting for us. However before I can get to him- two cars pull out in rapid succession so I pull into one of these closer spots.  We go to get our gear out of the back of the HHR- and out of the corner of my eye I see a beautiful red corvette pull in next to me.  I had to glance over because who the heck drives a corvette to a race track- where there is a high likelihood that you will be driving on gravel? The answer would be Tony Stewart’s father Nelson! I am NOT even kidding. I was surprised because I assumed they would be using rentals- and yes you can rent high performance cars in Vegas- but this was no rental as I think you will be able to tell:

Nelson Stewart's Corvette

Nelson Stewart’s Corvette (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

It was a beautiful car I have to say- I may have drooled a little bit- I do love a corvette! And yes I DID cut the HHR out of the picture- it was filthy!

We hit pit road pretty early- which was nice for taking pictures. I do love walking pit road. I have to say that Austin Dillon has the best pit box- it looks like a covered wagon!

Austin Dillon's Pit Box/Covered Wagon

Austin Dillon wins the award for coolest pit box- his looks like a covered wagon! (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

As you know the race itself was not a great one for Tony Stewart. Turned out to be a part malfunction that was not diagnosed until the car was torn down back home at the shop. Don’t ask me for specifics I don’t have them. But I do know that Tony wanted the team to tear down that car and figure out what was going on with it. It sounds like they found their gremlin!

Race winner was Brad Keselowski.

Dale Earnhardt Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr during his post race media…with unintentional photo bomb by Michael Meyer’s of Q4G. (Photo Credit: Misty Bethany)

For more pictures from the annual Vegas Racecation visit the photo set on flickr- it has many many more pictures:

Related post coming tomorrow: Racecation Part 2: Amy’s Favorite Pictures

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One Response

  • Lynn Bell says:

    Sounds like a great time. Thanks for sharing and of course for the gratuitous Chad Knaus photo!

    Last year I had a media pass at Vegas and found it almost more fun than a hot pass!!



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