For someone who doesn’t like to fly – I have logged more air miles in the last 13 months than I have in my entire life up to that point. Just within the last 13 months I have flown to Homestead Miami for Jeff Gordon’s last race, to Indianapolis Indiana for Tony’s last Brickyard. I flew to Phoenix for Tony’s last Phoenix race, and I flew to Vegas for Champions week (I also attended the Vegas and Sonoma races but didn’t fly for those). The thing about flying to Vegas for champions week- is that direct flights to Vegas run from my local regional airport only twice a week- on Thursday and Sunday mornings. Sure I could drive to the nearest BIG airport over an hour away and fly to Vegas nearly any day of the week- but the point was to not drive. Because fan fest is always on Wednesday I decided I would have to fly out Sunday and return home the following Sunday- luckily my best friend and co-blogger Misty lives in nearby Henderson so I didn’t have to worry about paying to stay in a hotel for a week…I could just kick back at her place and love on her dachshunds. Of course I would make my plane reservations before finding out that there would be no Fan Fest this year- so technically I could have flown out on Thursday morning and been fine. Oh well- as mentioned before Misty is my bestest friend and has been since junior high so I just had more friend time than I had anticipated. It was also the longest consecutive days I have gone with out being at work because I flew out to Vegas the Sunday after thanksgiving and didn’t fly back until the next Sunday which meant that was 11 consecutive days without work. It was a tad bit glorious I won’t lie about that.
I have been going to Champions Week in Vegas every year since they moved the festivities from New York. Boy has it changed since that first year. That first year my favorite part- “Fan Fest” was held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While the track is kind of “out there” from the main downtown Las Vegas that everyone loves and thinks of when they hear “Las Vegas” it was fun being at the track when it wasn’t really operational. The fan fest red carpet was right in the neon garage (which was open for free to all) and when they did the “game show” portion of fan fest which also contained a Q&A if you couldn’t fit in the room- you could sit and watch it on the screens in the garage area- which is what we did. The track is also quite near Nellis Airforce Base and I had fun watching the jets perform maneuvers in between activities and listen to the band and special guests who were on stage. Now everything has been moved so it’s more centrally located on the STRIP which is fine but the last few years it’s gotten worse.
Last year we were bummed out when they dropped doing driver intros before the Victory lap. It was very unceremonious last year and not worth standing in the cold for hours just to watch the drivers get in the cars and take off. There was no ceremony or hooplah. They did most of that during fan fest before the Game Show (last year it was Jeopardy) on Fremont Street. (more…)