Thursday, February 25, 2010

Neon Garage epicenter of NASCAR entertainment

By Anthony Fenech

Thursday, Feb. 5, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will serve as the hub of the weekend's activities.

Located in the middle of the track's infield, the garage will give racing fans a unique mix of entertainment, racing and access to the drivers and teams.

"It's been phenomenal," Jeff Motley of Las Vegas Motor Speedway said. "It's something race fans can't get anywhere else."

"The garage draws the fans closer to the drivers and adds some entertainment to the event," he said.

Frank Joseph of Steve Beyer Productions, the man in charge of orchestrating the weekend's entertainment, said an emphasis has been put on spreading the fun throughout the track.

"We took some of the entertainment off the stage and let them wander around," Joseph said. "Instead of Elvis on stage, he'll be meeting and greeting with NASCAR fans."

The same is true for the jugglers, balloon artists, mimes and other entertainers.

"We want them to come to the fans," Joseph said.

This year's live bands will feature more rock acts. But there will be steady streams of country bands, 80s bands and tribute acts.

"We've got a lot of variety," Joseph said. "But we wanted to roll out some more bands, so we'll do some more rock and roll."

The Sprint Cup Series race day will include a 45-minute performance by country artist Sean Patrick McGraw at 9:45 a.m., and Human Nature will take the garage's main stage at 11 a.m.

Kim Kardashian is scheduled to give the honorary command for drivers to start their engines, and Terry Fator will sing The Star-Spangled Banner.

While the atmosphere in the Neon Garage has become that of a three-day music-and-entertainment festival, fan access to the NASCAR teams, their pits and, most importantly, the drivers, is the goal.

"It's all about the fans wanting to get closer to the drivers and teams," Motley said. "It gives them the opportunity to see just what kind of a team sport NASCAR really is and how much work the crews make to their cars."

Joseph said the fans love the pits, and his job is to add to the experience as much entertainment as he can.

"The biggest draw is the cars," he said. "That's where their attention is paid, to see the drivers in the garages. It's why they pay the admission. But there will be no shortage of fun around them."

No comments: