Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | 8 p.m.
It’s a scene that doesn’t get old for racing fans and other tourists visiting the Las Vegas Strip each early March.
The NASCAR Hauler Parade again shut down one of the world’s most famous streets, with the trucks carrying the cars for this weekend’s Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races traveling from the South Point to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on a familiar course.
Like year’s past on race week, they headed north on Las Vegas Boulevard, turned on Sahara Avenue and then onto the 1-15 toward the speedway. Along the way, drivers of the haulers honked their trucks' horns to the joy of the fans.
Some were NASCAR fanatics and wore apparel of their favorite drivers. Other were visitors who stumbled upon the parade while sightseeing, getting a free show in a town where tickets to events on the Strip are often priced high.
Several snapped photos or took video with their phones. All left with a story to tell and a memory.
They stood on the bridge that connected the MGM to the Monte Carlo, or near the Bellagio, Caesars Palace or Mirage. Their social media pages, and photo albums after the trip, will surely document the amazing spectacle: truck after truck, each colorfully decorated with the sponsors, ranging from candy to retail stores, cruising the Strip with the town’s legendary resorts in the background.
About 40 haulers participated in the parade, which closed the Strip for northbound traffic for about 20 minutes.
“They travel 2,000 or 3,000 miles to be here,” said Larry Christ, a Northern California resident who attends the race each year with his wife, Bev. “The least we can do is show our support.”
For the Erdman family of Williston, N.D., following the NASCAR circuit from town to town is a yearlong passion. This is the third week of the race season and it will be the third race they attend. They started in Florida at the Daytona 500 and then were in Phoenix last week.
Kurt and Colette Erdman and Kurt’s mother, Myrtle, combined to wear apparel from four drivers. Most racing fans are loyal to one driver — naturally, several standing outside the MGM during the parade went crazy when Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hauler drove by — but Kurt Erdman has a different theory. He likes good racing.
“Someone once gave me some great advice. If your favorite driver gets knocked out early in the race, then your day is cut short,” he said.
So, come Sunday at the Speedway, he’ll be rooting for Carl Edwards, Danica Patrick, Kyle Busch and, of course, Dale Jr.
MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.