SCORE Las Vegas/Primm 300
This started out as a quick, week long trip to Nevada
for me and two friends, Doug and Jimmy. We were going to drive
down, see the race, and come home. We loaded our 3 dirt bikes
on a 24' flatbed car trailer and hauled it down with us. The drive
down went well until we got to North Las Vegas, or Las Vegas Motor
Speedway to be exact. Driving south on I-15, I spied the track
off to the side of the road and managed to get the truck slowed
down enough to exit the freeway. Once we found our way to the
infield area, we stopped and visited the gift shop and looked
around the empty racetrack. Its a very nice, new facility and
we were all impressed. In the gift shop, we discovered that in
a mere two weeks, there would be a NASCAR Craftsman truck race,
a NASCAR Busch series race, and the Pep Boys/Indy racing league
We put that all in the back of our minds and drove
down through Las Vegas and on to Primm, Nevada (used to be Stateline).
I had made reservations at Whiskey Pete's and we moved into our
room there and headed out to the parking lot to get some pictures
of all the race trucks parked there. The next morning we were
up early and down at the Tech/Contingency area for the parade
of trucks, buggies, and manufacturers. I took dozens of photos
with my Olympus digital camera and got some great shots of some
of the toughest desert trucks in the world.
Its fairly hot in the desert and the average temperature
on the entire trip was about 90 degrees. Many days were well over
100 and this was one of them. After a few hours of wandering the
pits I was ready for a nap. Doug and Jimmy had lunch in the casino
and while there, they ran across world famous extreme skier Glen
Plake. Plake was at the race helping out the Kia Motorsports team
and thier class 3 entry. Glen said he had noticed the 'Ski Stevens
Pass' banner on the front of my truck and wondered about it...he
also saw our dirt bikes and instantly got the idea and told Doug
and Jimmy to come down to the pits during the race.
They came back up to the room and told me about this
and then decided to go play on the dirt bikes. The three of us
headed out to the practice track and immediatly ran into Glen,
Kimberley, and the Kia team practicing. We sat there and talked
for an hour or so, then rode out to scout the racetrack. We found
a couple of good vantage points about halfway to Vegas and saw
some desert turtles and a hare before calling it a night.
On race day we were again up early and out on the race
course on our bikes. We headed out along a railroad line, safely
out of the race course, and up to a point where the race course
ran under the railroad. There was a good view of the trucks and
buggies coming through a turn in heavy silt beds and under the
tracks and out the other side. There was a turn marshal at the
bridge, sheltered by a canopy and supplied with a few cans of
pop, to watch that the competitors made the tunnel. We talked
with him for a couple hours while watching the racing and taking
pictures before we took off to the dry lake bed.
Out on the dry lake bed, trucks were blasting by at
between 90 and 150 mph. The dry lake is about 5 miles long and
the racers were using a good portion of it. We stopped along the
edge of the race course and watched the trucks and buggies fly
by, most of the drivers giving us thumbs up as they passed. The
trucks could be seen coming from a mile awayby the huge dust cloud
that rose behind them and we saw a few good side-by-side races
out there. Eventually, the dust died down and no more racers were
entering the lake bed, so we headed across the dry lake towards
the pits. Before we got there, we were detained by a Nevada Bureau
of Land Management officer who told us we really arent allowed
out on the race track...just today...otherwise we could use the
trails whenever we wanted...and we really arent allowed to ride
through the open desert ever...but since the trails were all full
of 700 horsepower nitro burning race trucks going ballistic speeds,
he could understand why we were riding through the open desert.
He gave us a warning and was very nice and we were ready to get
out of the desert anyways so we headed over to the pits to look
for Plake and the KIA guys.
We found them and stayed in the KIA pit for the rest
of the race. Glen autographed our dirt bikes for us and we sat
around until the KIA Sportage came through for the final lap and
victory in Class 3. We left the pits and rode back to the hotel
and cleaned up and had dinner, then headed down to watch a few
minutes of the awards presentation. The next day we packed up
the bikes and headed out of town...south towards Phoenix, Arizona.
We'd decided to go down there to Doug's parents house and stay
a few days and pick up some parts to make a dune buggy. We had
taken a couple of radio controlled electric trucks with us to
play with, and we found a hobby shop in Gilbert that was having
parking lot races. We stayed in Gilbert for about a week, swimming
in the pool and playing with the R/C cars. Doug cut up an old
VW Bus and took the transaxle and engine out of it and we loaded
it and a transmission on the trailer with the bikes and headed
back up to Las Vegas.
On-Star made reservations for us at the Ramada Speedway
Inn (I should have just gone to Circus-Circus or The Orleans)
and we checked in there a few days before the races at the speedway.
The hotel/casino was rather sparse...it was a new place that was
just getting its slot machines, ect...and the place was almost
always devoid of people (except security guards). We were still
playing with the R/C trucks and we found a little hobby shop with
an indoor track, Dansey's Hobbies, in North Las Vegas. We spent
a couple days racing on their track, in between lounging around
and going to real races. The first race was on a friday night
and was the NASCAR Craftsman trucks on the Las Vegas track. It
was a great race to watch, as it was in the evening and the temperatures
were down to a tolerable 96 degrees in the stands. The race was
great, with several top drivers battling through the whole race.
The next day the NASCAR Busch series cars ran and it was a fairly
uneventful race. Sunday was the big race, the Indy cars were racing
in the early afternoon. By the time the race started it was 105
in the stands and it just got hotter. The race was pretty good,
but there were 11 yellow flag cautions and one my favorite drivers
(Eddie Cheever) retired while leading with engine trouble. The
highlight of the race was a last lap pass for the win by a local
driver that brought the fans to their feet.
The next morning, we loaded up and headed northeast,
up to Salt Lake City. After an uneventful drive through Nevada
and southern Utah we arrived at Doug's brother Roby's apartment.
We stayed in SLC for a couple of days...long enough to sightsee
a bit and do a little shopping at Snowbird. We left SLC and in
12 hours we rolled into Seattle, glad to finally be home.
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