I set out for my Las Vegas adventure last Wednesday. I drove my VW Eos for 9 hours all the while listening to “The Howard Stern Show.” This was during the height of the Charlie Sheen craziness so the sound clip of Charlie uttering his trademark “Winning” catchphrase has been permanently emblazoned on my brain. It is the one word to describe my entire race weekend experience. But not in a “I’m losing so bad I’m winning” way, it’s more of an “I feel like I’m actually winning, doing good and making progress” kind of way.
Anyway, just as I entered the Las Vegas city limits my car told me my tire pressure was way too low. I’d seen that message before, telling me that I needed to put more air in my tires, it would flash and go away. But this message was persisting. So I stopped at the next gas station and checked out my tires. Turns out I had some sort of bolt or screw stuck in my right rear tire and I could hear the air hissing as it escaped around the evil piece of metal.
I found the closest tire place and headed there–Tire Works Total Car Care on East Silverado Ranch Boulevard to be exact. The owner of the place, I figured this out from seeing his picture posted on the wall behind him, said they’d repair the tire. Then I asked him how much it’d cost and he said there was no charge. I was like “Really???” And he was all “You’re already winning!” Ha! I thanked him profusely and maybe 15 minutes later I was on my way to my hotel.
But that’s when I discovered a vibration in my car once it reached speeds over 50mph. Ugh. I knew it had to be something that happened when they reattached my tire or did whatever it was they did to repair it (brand new tires, no less). So I decided to just deal with the vibration for the entire weekend until Monday when I could get my tires balanced.
On Thursday I was a busy little bee, which I think is the BEST way to be. I went to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the morning around 10-something to interview Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier (which I will post separately).
The garage was super quiet with only the Nationwide Series teams around. It was so different to be there and just see driver after driver walking around with no fans hounding them. There were some people at the garage entrance but it wasn’t the normal scene.
Post interview with Allgaier I headed to the Office Depot store where they were having Tony Stewart’s autograph session. The complete details of that will be in another post. After that I went to a Starbucks to check emails and found out that my request to interview Jason Leffler had been answered & they wanted to know if I could do it that day in, like, an hour. I said yes, of course, and hightailed it back to the track to interview him (separate post for that too).
After the Leffler interview I went back to my hotel to get ready for the “Kurt Busch Sprint For The Kids” fundraiser, a benefit for the Kurt Busch Foundation. The karting event took place at the Pole Position Raceway next to The Palms hotel. Teams, consisting of 4 or 5 people led by either a NASCAR driver or a celebrity (like Miss Sprint Cup, Rutledge Wood, Jamie Little, Allen Bestwick), raced against each other in a one hour endurance race around the 1/4 mile indoor track. I spotted Juan Pablo Montoya, Kelly Bires, crew chief Steve Addington, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell and members of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil pit crew (Clint Bowyer was there too but I didn’t see him). Richard “The King” Petty was in attendance and it was pretty neat to see the entire mood of the room change when he walked in. All of the sudden there was this subdued commotion as people got into position to ask him for an autograph or to take a picture with him.
Once the event started Juan Pablo Montoya was not letting his non-NASCAR driver competitors get away with anything, he was seriously beating & banging on those guys. He even spun out Jamie Little. It was all in good fun of course.
But the big news of the night was that Eva Busch, Kurt’s wife of almost 4 years, was not in attendance and Kurt was not wearing his wedding ring. Eva hasn’t been seen at any of the races this season and I have no idea what’s going on. I sincerely wish the best for the both of them, from one human being to another, you never want to see anyone breakup.
Anywhoo, Kurt’s team ended up winning the night’s main event. Besides the racing itself, the most entertaining part of the evening was watching the guys that work on the track run around, jumping over tires, bounding over the track’s dividers to help racers in distress. Next time I go to a Pole Position Raceway I want to be driving one of those cars, it looked like a lot of fun.
More stories to come from my Las Vegas race weekend. I’ve got a lot to get to, so bare with me!
(All photos credit The Fast and the Fabulous, Charlie Sheen GIF via BestWeekEver.tv)