The first speaker was from MGM Grand marketing. I didn’t realize it, but MGM Grand owns 10 different properties in Las Vegas and employs thousands of people. Only about 1/3rd of its $6,000,000,000 in revenue comes from gambling-no cheap rooms, 99 cent buffets, or inexpensive headliner shows.
Toyota talked of its 10 years in NASCAR, and then Mark Lazurus of NBC Sports and Erick Shanks of Fox Sports talked of the coming year. The two talked of more co-operation between networks, and downplayed the fact that many of the Sprint Cup races will be shown on their cable sports channels, NOT on the main networks. I sensed skepticism in the room, though that might have just been me thinking “b.s.”
The Wednesday luncheon was a nice sit down affair and gave me the opportunity to network with a representative of Lucas Oil and MAV-TV. Gene Haas spoke in the afternoon and talked of putting together Stewart-Haas Racing, as well as his new F1 team.
It was an interesting conference, even though about 3/4ths of the people in attendance were Matt’s age or younger and talking about baby boomers in the racing economy seemed an afterthought.
Thursday afternoon saw the NASCAR Victory Lap-all the Chasers driving down (or was it up?) Las Vegas Boulevard, aka The Strip. At several intersections they stopped to do burn-outs, including in front of the Aria. I couldn’t see the cars from my room, but I could see the smoke. Yes, I could have walked down to the front of the hotel and watched, but I am not a big fan of burn-outs. My thinking is the first one was cool, the last several thousand have been redundant. I would love to see someone celebrate without doing a burn-out.
Actually, I got to see the burn-outs anyway as they were shown on the big screen at the Palms Theater prior to the NASCAR After the Lap program. The first 400 people got a nice die cast car, which I brought home and gave to my grandson who believes Jeff Gordon gave it to me just for him.
I had a great seat-about 20’ from the secondary stage, and right above where half of the Chase drivers filed into the theater. Yes, Earnhardt-Gordon-Logano-Keselowski-Hamlin-Allmendinger-Johnson-Harvick were close enough I could have smacked them on the head. I thought of doing just that when Keselowski walked by, but I really didn’t want to spend my last night in Las Vegas in jail.
Harvick was introduced before the other drivers and was interviewed on the secondary stage, along with his wife and son. As I mentioned previously I enjoy watching his interaction with his son, and it is nothing staged for cameras.
There was plenty of smack talk among the drivers, and it was fun to watch. Honestly, if you are a Sprint Cup fan you should attend this event some time. Anyway, among the comments were:
-Kyle Busch was asked how it felt that he wasn’t the most booed coming into the room (Keselowski was). Busch said he now knows how Earnhardt Jr. feels.
-Gordon talked of how Earnhardt Jr. got him out of a speeding ticket.
-Earnhardt talked of getting a speeding ticket, and his dad making him get a job to pay for it.
-All of the drivers said that Gordon was their childhood hero.
-Allmendinger talked of his flashy dress, and Newman’s very much not fancy dress.
It was just a nice interaction, and like most fans I wish it would have lasted longer.
One thing I noticed watching the crowd file in-very few were millennials talked about in the marketing conference. Most were about my age, some were older. I agree that tracks need to go all out to bring in younger fans, but they shouldn’t forget the loyal core baby boomer fans either.
When I got outside the Palms the line for taxis was a block long. I worked steadily forward, but the line kept getting longer and longer despite dozens of taxis arriving. A party bus arrived-for $75 it would take someone anywhere on the Strip. Yeah, that was for me. I am a party bus kind of guy-not. Got back to the Aria, had an $18 hamburger, went back to my room and packed what I could and finished reading the book I started on the airplane trip to Las Vegas. As I said, what I do in Vegas really ought to stay there, it is so boring.
I had a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call for Friday. I got ready, checked out, headed to the airport, and thanks to a random procedure, my ticket was stamped “TSA Pre,” meaning I did not have to take off shoes, belt, or sport coat, and the line I was in had 8 people, while the regular security check line had several hundred. After a nice flight home it was back to the reality of life in Nebraska. And yes, I am ready to go to Las Vegas again, just days after I got home.
Thanks for stopping by.