NASCAR Economics 101: Shelby 427 Improves Lacking Vegas Economy

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IMarch 3, 2009

While NASCAR fans all over the country are waiting for a bailout, they gave the economy of Las Vegas one this past weekend.

Despite early worries, the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a sellout thanks to fans coming out the morning of the event. Fans got an extra treat when hometown boy Kyle Busch won the event.

"This is pretty cool," Busch said after his celebratory burnout on the frontstretch. "I didn't know exactly what it would mean, but when I was coming to the checkered flag, there were knots in my stomach."

No one knew exactly what the race would mean for revenue, either. After one of the worst turnouts in Auto Club Speedway a week earlier, track promoters had every right to worry.

"There is not a more passionate loyal bunch out there than NASCAR fans, and if you look behind me and see all those people sitting there, it's living proof," said Jeff Motley, Senior Director of Public Relations for LVMS.

As of this past November, Nevada had an employment rate of 7.6 percent—and with our economy still falling, that number could be even higher. Last year's race brought $200 million into the local economy.

This year's event is expected to do about the same.

"Whether it's $200 million or $180 million or whatever that number might be, we're proud of the number that is going to come in," said Motley. "I know that everybody that operates a hotel or taxi cab or restaurant or gas station or going to be happy with what we are able to bring to the community."

Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon gave high praise to the fans.

"For those fans to make those adjustments with their budgets and their schedules and whatever it takes to still come out here and be as avid and exciting about what we do, it’s awesome," Gordon said.

Several tracks around the circuit have lowered prices for their events in hopes that fans will be able to make the trip. Richmond International Speedway's March race tickets begin at just $40, as do Talladega's for both its April and November races. The November race is also a Chase to the Sprint Cup race.

Texas Motor Speedway, which like most tracks offers free parking, have tickets for as low as $20. Atlanta Motor Speedway, which hosts this weekends' Kobalt Tools 500 sold tickets for $17 after Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500. Now if you buy tickets, your second one will be $17.

Thanks to,,, and Channel 13 Action News out of Las Vegas for the quotes and information used in this piece.