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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series


Las Vegas adding second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2018

BUY TICKETS: See this year's races in Las Vegas

Officials from Las Vegas Motor Speedway and representatives from the city itself announced Wednesday that the Nevada-based track would host two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races annually beginning in 2018.


The news comes two days before on-track activity for this weekend's Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series and Kobalt Tools 400 Monster Energy Series events.


The race addition has been met with positive feedback throughout the industry and is a move NASCAR supports, according to league officials.


Speedway president Chris Powell said during Wednesday's announcement that the two questions he is most often asked are about job opportunities at the 1.5-mile venue and when the track would obtain a second major race date.


“And it turns out in March of 2017 … we can make this special announcement," he said.


The city of Las Vegas, he said, "becomes the only city in the history of NASCAR to have two tripleheader weekends."


Specific dates have not been made final.


Currently, Las Vegas hosts the Monster Energy Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series in March, and a stand-alone event for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the fall.


RELATED: Learn more about Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns LVMS, will move the fall Monster Energy and Camping World Truck Series races from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which is also an SMI property, to Las Vegas in '18. To round out the tripleheader, a September NASCAR XFINITY Series event at SMI's Kentucky Speedway will also be moved to LVMS.


"Las Vegas and Las Vegas Motor Speedway have become great destinations for NASCAR fans," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. "The experience is unique to any other in our sport. We look forward to having NASCAR racing there for two race weekends in 2018."


The 1.5-mile track opened in 1996, hosted a Camping World Truck Series race that year, then added an XFINITY Series date in 1997.


Mark Martin won the first Monster Energy Series race held at the track in 1998.


SMI owns eight tracks that annually host 12 of the 36 Monster Energy Series points events. In addition to LVMS, New Hampshire and Kentucky, other tracks under the SMI umbrella are Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Sonoma and Texas.


RELATED: See the complete 2017 schedule

SMI purchased the Las Vegas facility in December of 1998 for $215 million.


Two years ago, track officials announced entitlement extensions for the March race with Lowe's, through its Kobalt Tools brand, and the Stratosphere Casino and Hotel for pole day.


The schedule change is the first major shift for the series since 2015 when Atlanta Motor Speedway's Labor Day weekend date was moved to follow the season-opening Daytona 500 while Darlington Raceway's early spring date was returned to Labor Day weekend.


Marcus Smith, President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, said the company remains devoted to the race fans of New Hampshire and Kentucky.


"Fans and tourism officials in New Hampshire and Kentucky should know that we are still very committed to creating motorsports entertainment in those regions," he said.


"We will work hard to make sure the July NASCAR race weekends that we will continue to host in New Hampshire and Kentucky are bigger and better than ever before for our fans, sponsors and stakeholders.”


Las Vegas resident and racer Brendan Gaughan said the importance of racing in the community isn't lost on his family, which operates the South Point Hotel and Casino. Gaughan currently competes in the XFINITY Series for Richard Childress Racing.


"Look at the drivers that have come from Las Vegas," Gaughan said. "And the winner is the fan. If you have a choice to go to a race track … where would you go? Las Vegas is the place."


Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch, both Monster Energy Series champions, also hail from Las Vegas. Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing and series champion in 2004, recently won the 2017 Daytona 500.


RELATED: Kurt Busch building strong case for NASCAR Hall of Fame

Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota) is the 2015 series champ and has 171 wins across the three NASCAR national series.


Fellow competitor Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Ford for SHR, called Las Vegas "a huge venue for us.


"There's always an awesome crowd, a good sell for us," Bowyer said.


"We have to sell our product and it's always been a healthy environment, fun for fans and a huge impact for Vegas. At the end of the day that's what we're in the business to do -- put on a good show for a packed house and that track does that for us.


"Certainly the town provides a lot of entertainment for our fans, too."


The downside, he noted, is that another track has to lose a date to accommodate such moves.


"The sad thing is, where to you take (a race from)?" he said. "That's the tough thing. I don't think any of them that are capable of (losing a race) deserve getting one taken. That's the sticky part."

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