Most of us are aware of the Las Vegas Speedway. If you’re not, then you probably need to be. This is the racetrack that serves as the focal point of every racing fan’s pilgrimage to the desert. The site is most famous for hosting the American-sponsored Las Vegas 500, part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It began as a half-mile dirt track in 1959, and has since grown into one of the most significant motorsport venues in the world. Let’s take a look at how big the Vegas Speedway really is.
The Track’s Historic Origins
The Las Vegas Speedway actually began its life as a half-mile dirt track back in 1959. It was originally sited on a knoll outside of Las Vegas and was named after a famous Native American boxer. The track’s first race was held later that year, and it didn’t take long for the track to start attracting a lot of attention. In 1960, the track was promoted to 1.25 miles, and in 1962 it got another 0.75 mile. In all, this made the Las Vegas Speedway a 10-circuit quarter-mile track. Between 1962 and 1965, the track’s grandstand was completely rebuilt and expanded to hold 10,000 spectators. This is historically significant because it was one of the first tracks to utilize the front row bleachers. You’ll recall this was the same era of grandstands that was characterized by swooping roof lines and neon signs. The track was also resurfaced, which made it all look like it was constructed out of Lego bricks. You can learn more about the historic Las Vegas Speedway at this link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas_Speedway).
The Track Today
Although the Las Vegas Speedway hasn’t held a NASCAR race since 1965, it has continued to host various types of motorsport and is still the site of numerous race meetings a year. It currently consists of a 1.9-mile dirt track and a 3.7-mile asphalt road course. The asphalt road course was added in 2013 and is used for the Grand Prix of America. Over the years, the track has also hosted the World 600, the Rebel 500, and most recently, the ARCA Menards Series. The Grand Prix of America will be the track’s 15th annual race this year and is one of the signature events on the Grand Prix of America schedule.
The Track’s Layout
If you’ve been to the Las Vegas Speedway in person, then you know there’s a lot of space around the track. The stands are expansive and there are a lot of nooks and crannies in which to sit and watch the action. The track is also exceptionally long, which makes for some truly memorable races. There’s something about an entire field of cars stretching out before you and then getting progressively out of position that makes for great race footage.
The Track’s Amenities
There are a number of amenities at the Las Vegas Speedway, including a museum, memorabilia store, and a restaurant. The best part is that all of these things are included in the admission price. You don’t have to pay an additional admission fee to go to the bathroom or get a drink.
In fact, there are so many things to do and see at the Las Vegas Speedway that it could be worth the drive from the city just to attend a race there. Even if you don’t follow racing, it’s still well worth a trip to the desert to take a peek at what happens when cars spin out on a racetrack in the middle of the desert.
More information on the Las Vegas Speedway can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas_Speedway.