Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | 10:07 p.m.
While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Our thanks to them all. We continue today with race veteran and three-time national speed champion Gene Woods, who has opened Sin City Speedway, which is as close to the Strip as a track could possibly be.
Las Vegas -- I came here looking for a vacation house and wound up with a 2,000-seat stadium for speedway motorcycle racing. But I kind of know how it happened; being a professional racer my whole life, I guess it was in the cards for me to build a place for racing. And just like that, Sin City Speedway was born.
We didn’t build just another racetrack; we built a facility that racers from all over the world are excited to compete at, and that’s saying nothing about Las Vegas, which is the coolest city in the world. From our seats, you get a wicked view of the Strip, and you can watch planes fly overhead arriving and departing McCarran International Airport.
Las Vegas really is a cool town for racing. Not only is there Sin City Speedway, but also Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where NASCAR, NHRA drag races, the Lucas Oil off-road racing series and other desert events take place. Las Vegas is a Mecca for motorsports; motorheads have everything they need. What a great place to live and race!
If you’re not familiar with speedway motorcycle racing, it’s a really different form of entertainment than other sports. It’s 90-horse power, nitro-burning motorcycles that go from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds and have no brakes going around a 1/8-mile dirt oval.
After having done this form of racing all over the globe myself, I realized that I must have had something wrong with me to participate in such a dangerous sport, but I guess that lack of good sense in my youth has allowed me to do many cool things and meet many cool people.
During my 30-plus years of racing, I have been fortunate enough to have raced nearly every kind of vehicle imaginable -- from NASCAR, monster trucks, sprint cars, snowmobiles and motorcycles, you name it, I’ve probably raced it.
Of all the forms of racing I have done, speedway motorcycle racing is my all-time favorite. It could possibly be because I won three national championships, but it also is by far the rawest form of racing. Nothing else has ever caused so much physical pain.
I’ve had a ripped-off finger, bones sticking through my skin and plenty more. Now I get to enjoy the screws, nuts and bolts doctors have installed in me. I guess that is what connects racing and me: nuts and bolts!
Our thanks to Gene for risking life and limb to open the newest high-speed sports attraction in Las Vegas. Be sure to check out our other guest columns today from “America’s Got Talent” winner Michael Grimm and comedian Geechy Guy. Join us Wednesday when our guest columnists are celebrity rock artist Michael Godard and the bare-chested hunks of Thunder From Down Under at Excalibur.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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