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July 31, 2014

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It’s free: When and where to catch your favorite NASCAR drivers

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Steve Marcus

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch signs a jacket for Tristen MacLean, 11, of Carseland, Alberta, Canada at the M&M’s World Las Vegas store on the Las Vegas Strip Thursday, March 3, 2011.

Updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | 4:30 p.m.

Kyle Busch Meets Fans

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch greets fan Sue Parzych of Ann Arbor, Mich. at the M&M's World Las Vegas store on the Las Vegas Strip Thursday, March 3, 2011. Launch slideshow »

You can be part of NASCAR race weekend in Las Vegas without opening your wallet.

If you aren’t going to Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, there are still plenty of ways to be involved. And they are free.

The events start Wednesday with the hauler parade on the Las Vegas Strip, as the big rigs hauling the stock cars make their way to the speedway. Stand on the Strip and watch the trucks take over one of the world’s most famous streets. It’s a great photo opportunity.

The parade starts on the south end of the Strip, traveling north until reaching Sahara Avenue. That’s when the trucks head west to the Interstate 15 and north to the speedway.

On Thursday, the race teams will test new a rules package from noon to 4 p.m. at the speedway. The grandstands and Neon Garage will be open at no charge.

“These are two great fan events to start the race weekend,” speedway President Chris Powell said in a statement. “The hauler parade has brought thousands of fans to the Strip to watch the team transporters make their way to the speedway. The test session will be very vital for the teams as they prepare for both the Kobalt 400 and the remaining superspeedway races.”

Here are some other ways to get involved:

Wednesday, March 5

5-9 p.m. : Dale Earnhardt Jr. hosts fans 21 and older at the Mtn Dew Kickstart Slot Machine at the plaza outside Planet Hollywood, 3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South. The 7-foot slot machine will “kick out” cans of Mtn Dew Kickstart Black Cherry and Limeade and other prizes such as a shopping gift card or meeting with Earnhardt. Note : Earnhardt appears from 8 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 6

4:15-4:35 p.m. : Question-and-answer session with drivers Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers and David Ragan on stage at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. North.

5-6 p.m. : Autograph session with drivers Ryan Newman, Brendan Gaughan, Austin Dillon, Brian Scott and Ty Dillon at the South Point, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

6 p.m. : Autograph session with driver Ty Dillon at Las Vegas Bass Pro Shops at 8200 Dean Martin Drive.

6 p.m. : Appearance by driver Greg Biffle at Walgreens at 3765 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

6 p.m. : Driver Clint Bowyer is interviewed by Fox Sports’ Jeff Hammond at the Speedway Children’s Charities NASCAR Driver & Memorabilia Auction at Sam’s Town Live! inside Sam’s Town, 5111 Boulder Highway. Note: Admission is free, but seating is limited.

6-8 p.m. Autograph session and photo opportunity with Las Vegas native Kyle Busch at M & M World on the Strip. Note: Tickets are limited and will be distributed at 9 a.m. Thursday at M & M World.

6-8 p.m. Autograph session with driver Dave Ragan in the lounge area of The D on Fremont Street.

7 p.m. Happy Hour with driver Kevin Harvick at the Stratosphere Theater at the Stratosphere, 2000 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Note: Open to the first 250 fans with wristbands

Friday, March 7

11 a.m. : Local drivers Brendan Gaughan and Dylan Kwasniewski will appear on the midway stage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

11:20 a.m. : Autograph session with driver Brendan Gaughan and ESPN reporter Jamie Little, a Green Valley High School graduate, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway midway.

6 p.m. : Driver appearance by Kasey Kahne at The Fremont on Fremont Street. Hosted by Chris Myers of Fox Sports.

6 p.m. : Driver appearances by Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus on the Neon Garage stage during the Kobalt Kampout.

7 p.m. : Driver appearance Carl Edwards hosted by Jeff Hammond of Fox Sports at The Orleans, 4500 W. Tropicana Avenue.

7-9 p.m. : Driver Kyle Busch at the Stratosphere Theater at the Stratosphere. Note: Tickets are free and available at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 6. Fans age 21 and older could be drawn to play blackjack with Busch. Appearance will include never-seen-before footage of Busch racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring.

6:30-7:30 p.m. : Autograph session with driver Michael McDowell at the Pub at the Monte Carlo.

8 p.m. : Autograph session with drivers Mike Bliss, Blake Koch and Jeff Green at the Plaza on Fremont Street.

Saturday, March 8

10:45 a.m.: Driver Denny Hamlin on stage at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage.

11 a.m.: Appearance by Miss Sprint Cup (Kim Coon), Miss Coors Light (Rachel Rupert), Miss zMAX (Christina Davidson) on the midway stage at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Sunday, March 9

9 a.m.: Driver Kyle Busch makes an appearance at the midway stage at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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