It’s only been around for 19 Cup Series races but Las Vegas Motor Speedway has made itself a destination stop for NASCAR fans. Now there are talks that the Sin City track could receive a second race.
Check out some historical facts about Las Vegas Motor Speedway as we prepare for the Kobalt 400 on Sunday at 3 p.m. on FOX:
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Early days of racing in Sin City
In the early 1970s, Vegas closed down Stardust International Raceway and created plans for the Las Vegas Speedrome, which had a road course and drag strip. A 3/8-mile short track was added in the mid-1980s. A new $72 million dollar speedway was built in 1996 and is the current track NASCAR runs today.
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Cup Series was late to the party
After the track was built in 1996, IndyCar was the first series to compete on the speedway. The Truck Series followed up with a race a few months later and the XFINITY Series debuted at the track in 1997. It wasn’t until March 1998 that the Cup Series raced at Vegas.
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Always a bridesmaid
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the most runner-up finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3). Earnhardt has six consecutive top-10 finishes and hasn’t finished worse than 16th at the track since 2006.
Kyle Busch is the only driver to win at Las Vegas from the pole. He accomplished the feat in 2009 at his hometown track.
The other hometown boy
Kurt Busch holds the record for the fastest lap in a Cup Series car, which he set last year with a pole speed of 196.328 miles per hour, turning a 27.505-second lap.
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Nothing like the first time
Mark Martin is the only driver to win at Las Vegas in their first try. Of course, he had a bit of an advantage since it was everyone’s first race at the track in 1998.
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Vegas success translates to championships
The winner of the Cup Series race at Las Vegas has gone on to win the championship five times in the same season. Jeff Gordon did it first in 2001, followed by Matt Kenseth in 2003. From 2006 to 2010, Johnson won the Las Vegas race and the championship three times.
Jack Roush has put a car in Victory Lane at Las Vegas seven times, more than any other car owner. Carl Edwards won the last race for Roush in Sin City in 2011. Rick Hendrick comes in second with five wins at the track as an owner.
In one of NASCAR’s most interactive fan zones, the Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway offers a little bit of everything in the form of entertainment. It provides an elevated viewing area for fans to watch team’s work on their cars, offers unique concession areas and includes Victory Lane.