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Sin City's other kind of racy

You can get away from the dealing and into wheeling, on two wheels or four, tracks or dunes. Racing schools can help kick your visit into gear.

April 01, 2007|Dan Neil | Times Staff Writer

Across from Caesars Palace is the slightly faded Imperial Palace Hotel, where -- on the fifth floor, no less -- there is a vast automotive showroom. Once a car museum of about 250 cars, the collection was converted to a showroom in 2001, which is to say many of the cars are up for sale. The permanent collection includes Johnny Carson's 1939 Chrysler Royal Sedan, Howard Hughes' Chrysler with air purification system, and an assortment of grand era Cadillacs, Duesenbergs, Bugattis and Mercedeses. The cars on consignment are a rogue's gallery of the great and weirdly great. Want to buy the Ford Torino from the "Starsky & Hutch" movie? All it takes is money.

3535 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; (702) 794-3174,



The only indoor kart track in town, Fast Lap is the place to bang around with your friends in raucous 200 cc go-karts on a tire-lined course laid out on an old warehouse floor. How quick are these karts? Everybody has to wear a helmet and a neck brace. Figure $25 for a 10-minute heat (members pay $18).

4288 S. Polaris Ave.; (702) 736-8113,


Among the biggest arcades in town, if not the biggest, Gameworks specializes in driving games. They are all here: Daytona USA 2, Need for Speed GT, Ferrari 355 Challenge, Indy 500 and much more. The most exotic is a game called Cycraft, a virtual-reality capsule supported by overhead hydraulic booms to simulate the sliding and spinning out of driving game play. Better than on the track.

3785 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Suite 010; (702) 432-4263,



Getting into the Grand Prix

In the tradition of another town known for its casinos (Monte Carlo), Las Vegas will host the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix this week (April 6 to 8) on closed city streets. Sunday's race is the first event on the 2007 Champ Car World Series calendar. Open-wheel fans, start your engines.


What: The Vegas Grand Prix, a three-day race festival including concerts, a celebrity poker tournament, extreme sports and races on downtown streets. In addition to the grand prix, races include a Champ Car Atlantic event and a historic race featuring Formula One cars from 1966 to 1983.

Where: The 2.44-mile, 12-turn temporary circuit will circumnavigate World Market Center and several downtown casinos west of the Strip.

When: Public events begin Thursday with a charity gala to benefit Keep Memory Alive, at the Bellagio, featuring Jon Bon Jovi and Jay Leno (doors open at 5:30 p.m.), and continue through April 8. Scheduled starting times on April 8: Historic Grand Prix, 10:15 a.m.; Vegas Grand Prix, 1 p.m.; Champ Car Atlantic, 4 p.m.

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased online at or at the gates each day. A three-day pass is $70 in advance and $78 at the gate. Daily tickets are also available.

Getting around: Interstate 15 through the downtown area will have no traffic lane restrictions. The Charleston Boulevard exit will be the primary access route into downtown and for Vegas Grand Prix events.

Las Vegas Boulevard will remain open and is suggested for north-south travel. All north-south roadways east of Las Vegas Boulevard will also stay open.


Race information and website,

(877) 795-RACE (7223) or


Zoom, zoom, zoom

Can't get enough car? Video footage allows you to ride along as Times staff writer Dan Neil takes the wheel of a Formula One car. Plus, more car-packed sites in Vegas.

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