Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Following up on my earlier report that Jimmie Johnson is tipped to win Sunday’s big NASCAR race now comes word that Las Vegas native Kyle Busch is favored to win Saturday’s Nationwide Series Boyd Gaming 300 at our Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The bookies at William Hill posted new odds making Kyle, who is the all-time leader in NASCAR Nationwide Series victories with 64, is the 8-5 favorite to win Saturday’s race. However, he has never won the NASCAR Nationwide 300 Series race at his home track, although he was victorious in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 in 2009.
Brad Keselowski is listed at 4-1. Matt Kenseth, who owns three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at LVMS, is next at 9-2, and new Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 7-1.
Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan is 50-1, and fellow 19-year-old Las Vegan Dylan Kwasniewski — the subject of Sun Sports reporter Case Keefer’s profile posted Tuesday — is listed at 100-1.
Tonight’s annual Hauler Parade on the Strip and a free day of NASCAR Sprint Cup testing kick off the annual NASCAR Weekend. Our NASCAR Weekend preview and photo coverage of the parade will be posted here Thursday.
The parade starts at 6 p.m. from South Point and proceeds north to Sahara Avenue before heading north on I-15 to LVMS. On Thursday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will be testing the new rules package from noon to 4 p.m. Grandstands and Neon Garage will be open with free admission.
“These are two great fan events to start the race weekend,” said LVMS President Chris Powell. “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 the Kobalt 400 and the remaining superspeedway races.”
LVMS also will host a Q+A with drivers Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers and David Ragan on Thursday after the test session in Neon Garage.
FAMILY AFFAIR: At just 23 years old, Tommy Wind is the youngest magician to have his own theater on the Strip. When he traveled here from New York several years ago with the goal of performing on the Strip, many folks in the community met him with doubt.
He proved the skeptics wrong as he moved from off-Strip lounges and eventually to headline in his own theater near MGM Grand. Tommy's mother, father and fiancee are all cast members, making it a true family affair.
HERSHEY BAR: I got ahead of myself with Tuesday’s, ahem, tall tale about the giant Hershey chocolate bar entrance to the new Chocolate World store to open late April in New York-New York.
I reported, based on correct information at the time but readjusted later, that the unveiling would be this week when in fact it’s the screening walls that go up this week to permit the construction of the monster 75-foot billboard. Those canvas curtains will come down to reveal all next month.
Congratulations to engaged couple Rob Marnell, who stars in “Jersey Boys” at the Paris, and his fiancee Laurel Harris. She’s just been tapped to join the upcoming national tour of “Wicked” in the role of Elphaba. They’ll be reunited when the hit musical plays the Smith Center for a month starting Oct. 8. The love birds recently watched Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo and went backstage afterward for photos with cast members and Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich, who also attended the performance.
While in town to support his pal “Iron Chef America” winner Kerry Simon’s rock concert fundraiser to Fight MSA, rocker Sammy Hagar and his stunning wife Kari Karte checked out the new lunch menu at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. He raved about his new Sammy’s tequila shrimp and Mexican dirty rice.
HBO’s “True Detective” star Woody Harrelson was nearly unrecognizable with sunglasses and a black hat at XS in Encore for DJ Redfoo’s set.
Flamingo headliner Marie Osmond and her husband and kids had a date night watching Celine Dion at Caesars and met the superstar before the show.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke and comedian Tig Notaro were in the audience for “Rocktellz & Cocktails” with The Jackson Brothers at Planet Hollywood.
Haylie Duff partied at Hyde Bellagio with friends.
Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist D.J. Ashba, with guitar in tow, happily chatted with fans and posed for photographs while at McCarran Airport waiting for a flight to L.A. for weeklong tour rehearsals before heading off to Mexico City to kick off the South American GNR tour. The group returns to Las Vegas for their May residency at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Actor and comedian Bill Bellamy partied at Tao in the Venetian, dancing to the sounds of DJ Five in between taking photographs with fans.
Spywitnesses reported seeing “Pawn Stars” stars Rick Harrison at the Riviera’s Wicked Vicky tavern as singer Pia Zadora stopped by for a meeting and serenaded a fan with “Happy Birthday” as comic Tig Notaro checked in showing off her “Best of Las Vegas” Grammy gifting lounge package.
Miami-based record producer Henrix made his DJ debut at Light in Mandalay Bay.
R&B heartthrob Eric Bellinger celebrated his first performance at Haze in Aria with a magnum of Ace of Spades champagne after his set. Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Super Bowl XLVIII champion Cliff Avril of the Seattle Seahawks were there celebrating the latter’s bachelor party.
Actor Larenz Tate partied at 1OAK in the Mirage.
Motown founder and music legend Berry Gordy Jr. attended his daughter’s open-mic show “Sherry Gordy: Take the Stage” at Fiesta Rancho. Berry, who sat next to his daughter throughout the evening, took photos and chatted with fans after the show. Her show is performed weekly there at Club Tequila and features Gregg Austin with Second Wind on Thursday night.
Three of the six members of the 10-time Grammy-winning group Take 6 led the cheers for vocal sensations Mo5aic at LVH.
From 6 p.m. onward, the Strip from South Point to the Sahara will be jam-packed with NASCAR fans cheering on the annual Sprint Cup Series Hauler Parade.
The Sprat Theater Company teams with our Keep Memory Alive fundraising arm of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health for the original show “Henri” show at the Smith Center following its critically acclaimed New York run. The play created by Las Vegas’ own Ryan Elisabeth Reid is the story of an elderly man affected with Alzheimer’s and how people around him react.
Early morning, we’ll post our review of the new-look and new-sound “Zarkana” at Aria with the amazing aerial acrobatics of British twin gymnasts the Atherton Brothers, plus, our preview of NASCAR Weekend.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.