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Las Vegas Diary:
Day Three
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Las Vegas, Nevada, April 8 — The inaugural Vegas Grand Prix is completed. Here are our final observations.

The Good: The fabulous race course, Can't keep saying enough about it. That alone should make anyone want to come back next year no matter what their other experiences may or may not have been. For some of the criticism that Chris Kniefel gets, he deserves nothing but major kudos for his effort in planning, designing, and organizing the track layout and construction. The yellow shirted race volunteer staff. Every single one of them, every single one of them, were polite, knowledgeable, helpful, and always seemed to be having a good time.

The Bad: How incredibly difficult it was to get around the race course in certain sections – not enough crossings, locked gates for photographers, not enough photo holes because of the FIA fencing and the inability to add some later, not enough shuttles (though partially corrected on race day and the shuttle staff was very friendly), and not enough bridges. Everyone who attended had to walk miles unless they stayed within a particular "zone."

We thought the wording was pretty simple.

The Ugly: The unfathomable surliness of Security – who would not allow a foot crossing on a cold track even after being instructed to do so by Race Control and Kniefel – and by so doing caused a near riot in the process. Or, Security changing the rules for the photographers on race morning, also nearly causing a riot. Or, the owner of Deep Throttle nearly getting arrested because Security decided to change the rules for the very last race and Mr. Scott Dennison needed to puff up his paper shield. Apparently, "Trackside Access" means anything but and the more equipment you carry, the better access you get. Or, best of all, watching one of these so-called security personnel being physically held back by the corner workers as he demanded to cross a hot track. We kid you not. You can't make this stupidity up.

The Good: David Phillips must have been thrilled. The Media Center on the 16th Floor of the World Market Center Building is the finest facility on the CCWS circuit. The food and beverages provided by Wolfgang Puck Catering rivals the days of Vancouver and was greatly appreciated by all. The Media Center staff were friendly and helpful.

The Bad: But in case David Phillips needs something to complain about, the parking was abysmal, and it was all unnecessary – there was more than enough parking available within easy access to the WMC, but it sat vacant and unused all weekend as members of the press schlepped their equipment for miles through the heat.

Despite the inconsistent banning of some photographers from pit lane, some pit action was still captured. (Photos by .)

The Ugly: The event’s PR staff did not attend the photographer’s meeting on Sunday, and then decided to issue restrictive wristbands for the pits moments before the race began to their cronies ("Only special people get them") without telling anyone. The distribution was not based upon the job the members of the press were doing, but purely on whim. And then, they were rude and unprofessional, causing a number of photographers to miss nearly two-thirds of the race. Does the term petty tyrant ring any bells?

The Good: Watching a comedy show every time James Hinchcliffe is in a press conference. They should charge admission.

The Bad: It would have been better had there been a race on Saturday and run the Atlantic race on Sunday morning rather than at the end of the day Sunday when it’s hottest in Las Vegas.

The Ugly: No Jumbotrons and loudspeakers outside of the main straightaway/pit area. Thus, any spectator outside of that section was virtually clueless to the going-ns of the race.

The Champ Car Atlantic field pours into Turn 1.

The Good: Twenty-seven Atlantic cars screaming into Turn 1, three and four abreast. For those fans that stuck around, they visibly enjoyed the action.

The Bad: Twenty-seven Atlantic cars not getting through Turn 1. The advantage of watching young, hungry future stars is exciting racing. The disadvantage to watching young, hungry future stars is what we saw in Las Vegas – a crashfest.

The Ugly: No more than three consecutive green flag laps in the Atlantic race. The fans near me were visibly and verbally upset by the number of full course yellows. Even the fans who were completely unknowledgeable about this type of racing clearly did not want to see a NASCAR-style race based on their comments they made to me. They wanted to see racing, clean and exciting racing, and they didn't get it.


Copyright © 2007 by Lisa Davidson, Russell Jaslow, and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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