CHAMPCAR/CART: Champ Car to run at Las Vegas

One of the two "TBA" dates for Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford was filled today. Open Wheel Racing Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven announced the Champ Car World Series' Champ Car Las Vegas 400 night race at Las ...

One of the two "TBA" dates for Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford was filled today.

Open Wheel Racing Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven announced the Champ Car World Series' Champ Car Las Vegas 400 night race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday September 25th.

The Champ cars will hit the 1.5-mile superspeedway for the first time under the lights just after the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is complete. That event is set to take green flags at 7PM Saturday night; it is expected the CCWS race will get underway at 9PM.

Kalkhoven acknowledged Las Vegas is "the fastest growing market for us as we've looked at the demographics. We enjoy very strong television ratings in the Las Vegas area market and that tells us many fans want us here."

Kalkhoven is extremely pleased with the ticket package being offered to fans: for $61.50 fans receive a reserved seat in the Earnhardt Terrace together with a paddock pass.

Kalkhoven was joined at the track by LVMS general manager Chris Powell, together with current champion Paul Tracy and 1996 champ Jimmy Vasser, both of whom call Las Vegas their homes.

Powell noted assistance from the Nevada State Legislature in making this additional race happen and remarked, "It's been a long time since we held an open wheel race and we've wanted to bring that type of racing back to our track," Powell acknowledged. "This will be a really big show for the fans because they'll get two shows in one night.

"Our annual March NASCAR race has a tremendous impact on the Las Vegas economy and we are hoping this doubleheader will, too. And," Powell continued, "we expect to be better prepared for the usual traffic problems at our track."

Tracy, who moved to the Las Vegas area a few years ago from his Canadian base thinks, "It's very exciting to be racing here. This is a great area and presents great opportunities for our sponsors to entertain clients. We know this venue has been talked about in the past but the right opportunity to race here didn't come until now.

"This is a first class facility," Tracy said, "and the Champ Car drivers will be able to show the truck fans a different kind of sport. We'll also be able to bring a lot of our own fans in for this race."

Vasser, who has lived in the Las Vegas area for the past eight years, has "seen Las Vegas Motor Speedway erected. I don't think there's a better facility for different types of racing and I am very excited to be racing here. It's exciting that we'll be back on a superspeedway again and this date pretty much rounds out the series," he said.

The last time the Champ Car World Series performed on a superspeedway oval was in 2003 at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz venue, a race won by Cleveland Grand Prix victor Sebastien Bourdais.

OWRS co-owner Paul Gentilozzi chimed in with a reminder that the series does perform on many different types of race tracks: short ovals like The Milwaukee Mile, permanent road courses such as Portland, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Elkhart Lake's Road America, street circuits like this weekend's venue at Toronto, Canada's Exhibition Place and, once again on an oval superspeedway, the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"This race will add an international focus to the weekend and I think Las Vegas Motor Speedway has done a great job to put it together," Gentilozzi avowed. "We'll be turning speeds around 210-215mph and that will be great for the fans. We'll bring a new spectacle, a new audience to the sport."

The schedule will include practice and qualifying for the Champ Car Las Vegas 400 on Friday, September 24th with racing to commence once the NCTS race is complete.

Gentilozzi did note that, "[Champ Car Technology Director] Lee Dykstra has done simulations for the aero package we might be using at this track and will release his findings to the teams when he's finished with that. We want to be careful with what we do regarding this package," to be certain of its veracity.

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Series INDYCAR