By admin | February 24, 2010
By Richard Allen
President Obama may say that it is not best to blow your kids college funds in Las Vegas but NASCAR considers the city a sound investment. While other sports shun the city so known for gambling, NASCAR has benefited from its relationship with the desert jewel.
In 1996 the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its first appearance on the 1.5 mile Speedway Motorsports, Inc. track. In 1997 the Nationwide Series ran there for the first time and, finally, the Sprint Cup Series made its initial foray to the track in 1998.
Events held at the facility are typically well attended, unlike those held in the Los Angeles area where there is competition with other sports. Las Vegas Motor Speedway only hosts one event from each of the three major NASCAR touring series’ each year.
In 2007 the NBA played its All Star game in Las Vegas but other than that there has been little interest by the NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball in placing a permanent franchise in the American mecca of gambling. Each of those leagues has had scandals involving gambling, some of which have been fairly recent.
Pete Rose, baseball’s all time hit leader, has been permanently banned from the MLB for betting on the game. A look further back into history reveals that in 1919 an entire World Series was thrown because of gambling.
An NBA referee recently admitted to being involved in a gambling ring which may well have influenced the outcome of some games. Rumors, and even some fact, have long associated major NBA players with gambling.
A number of incidents have occurred in NFL history involving gambling. Some well known names such as Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were once suspended for betting on games and for their association with known gamblers.
Apparently, the ‘Big 3’ of sports leagues in the U.S. are not aware that gambling takes place in other cities all over the world via these crazy things called the telephone and the internet. But as long as these other leagues want to maintain their purity and stay away from Las Vegas, NASCAR has shown they are more than willing to step in and reap the rewards of locating in a sports hungry market with no real sporting competition.
NASCAR likes the place so much they moved their end of season awards banquet there last December.
While other sports have pretty much avoided Las Vegas, NASCAR obviously does not consider the place so sinful, but instead, they think of it is a good place to invest their time and money. This weekend’s events there will likely be among the best attended of the season.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter
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