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 500.

Jimmy on pit row at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway

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.

Jimmy inspecting the huge rear suspension on Truggy, Terrible Herbst's monsterous combination of truck and buggy.Another shot of Truggy...

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.

A Hummer bouncing through the silt beds........and a buggy blasting out of the railroad tunnel.

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.

A class 12 buggy sponsored by Kawasaki of Riverside...And a trophy truck sponsored by Carol Electric Company.

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.

Baja Shop buggyPlake and the KIA team (Glenn is in the sombrero)

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.

One microbus to go!

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 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.

Outside of the Race Car Cafe at the entrance to Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayJimmy standing on pit road at LVMSOne of the many Derek Daly Driving Academy BMWs

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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