Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Racing Matt Kenseth

Josiah SchlatterContributor IDecember 5, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Crown Royal Ford, drives during the NASCAR Victory Lap on the Las Vegas Strip on December 1, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

This weekend I'll be blogging straight from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as Crown Royal has given me the opportunity to race NASCAR-style in a time-trial contest with Matt Kenseth and a select few writers.

I will most certainly lose.

Last May, Crown Royal invited me out to Virginia Motor Speedway to soak in the Matthew and Daniel Hansen Crown Royal 400 to see what it feels like to be a VIP in a packed stadium full of racing cars and crazy fans.

I was able to get up close and personal with the pit crews, who are the unsung heroes that hustle around to little fanfare, as they attempt to shave off precious seconds to give their driver an advantage on the track.

I was able to watch the racer's wives freak out as their husbands' cars turned into fiery wrecks.

I hung out in the Crown Royal owners booth with Rodney Atkins' backing band, while Matt's Crown Royal Ford pulled into first place. He eventually finished 21st because of car troubles.

I even got to watch a tire catch on fire.

While we were waiting around for the race to start; however, they set up a scavenger hunt for the team of journalists in attendance. Somehow, I was paired with a bunch of smart teammates. We coasted to victory as I doggedly followed their intrepid ways as we sped around Virginia Motor Speedway in a golf cart with access to basically every corner of the stadium. Except for the personal trailers where the racers hang out to get their minds right. We only got to ogle them from four feet away.

I got to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. blow off a tiny little fan who only came to see him. Tony Stewart followed by offering the fan his Coke (only to get blown off because the kid had no idea who Stewart was). Juan Pablo Montoya awkwardly stood around the podium, where all the racers congregate after getting introduced to the fans because he couldn't find anyone to talk to. So Jeff Gordon was the belle of that ball.

After that grand experience, I didn't think NASCAR racing could do me a much bigger solid, until Crown Royal informed us that the winners of the scavenger hunt would get to fly out to Las Vegas and do a time trial in a live NASCAR race car against Matt Kenseth.

So, that's what I'm going to do Saturday. Although I don't know how to drive a stick shift, and my only racing experience is limited to dominating Go Kart races on the boardwalk in Ocean City. Also, plastering my roommates with speed in our nightly sessions of Mario Kart 64. We'll see if my practice pays off. I hope it does.

The winner of the time trial against Matt Kenseth has the opportunity to donate $5,000 in their name to a non-profit organization of their choice. As for me, I'll probably give it to Make-A-Wish because that's what Crown Royal's doing for me.

Wish me luck. If anybody knows how to drive a stick shift out there, now would be a great time to text me some tips.