Gear Head Heaven

Highlights of a Year of Speed

General Tire Mint 400

March 26-27, Moapa;

The famous Las Vegas race was revived in 2008 after a 20-year hiatus. Much of it is still run on the original course. (Read more »)

Nevada Open Road Challenge, Silver State Classic Challenge

May 12-15 and Sept. 15-18, Ely;

Being blessed with miles and miles of miles and miles means Nevada can host events that would be unthinkable in other states, like these two events on State Route 318 just south of Ely. Essentially, you sign up and drive your car as fast as you want for 90 miles on a public road. Not only will the cops not chase you, they’ve cleared the road for you. The current speed record is almost 208 mph. Try that in Connecticut.


NHRA Nationals

Oct. 27-30, Las Vegas Motor Speedway;

Don’t you love the smell of nitromethane in the morning? It smells like … victory. And the drag racing cars it powers sound like the apocalypse on wheels. There’s nothing subtle about a machine that accelerate from zero to 300 mph in the space of a quarter mile. Every fall Las Vegans get to check out the spectacle up close and personal at the penultimate event in the National Hot Rod Association’s Full Throttle Drag Racing series. Bring your ear plugs.

TSCO Vegas to Reno

Aug. 18-20, Beatty;

The longest point-to-point off-road race in the United States starts just north of us in Beatty. It’s 500-plus punishing miles of dirt, silt, rocks, mountain passes and stifling desert heat. Watch out for cows.

Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas Collector Car Event

Sept. 22-24, Mandalay Bay;

Remember that 1967 Camaro your neighbor’s dad had when you were a kid? (Why was it always the neighbor’s dad? How come our dads all had Buicks?) Remember how you promised yourself that one day you’d say your money and buy one? Now’s your chance, though you might be a bit shocked by the prices classic American iron is fetching these days. The 2010 auction, Barrett-Jackson’s third in Las Vegas, generated about $23 million on sales of more than 500 cars.


IZOD IndyCar World Championship

Oct. 16, Las Vegas Motor Speedway;

Open-wheel racing returns to Las Vegas in this recently announced addition to the LVMS calendar.

Specialty Equipment Market Association show

Nov. 1-4, Las Vegas Convention Center;

While not open to the general public, the SEMA show is nonetheless on every gearhead’s radar, thanks to saturation coverage of the aftermarket-industry convention in consumer magazines and on TV. Gearheads like to tinker, and this is the place brings all the stuff they can tinker with together under one enormous roof. From aftermarket wheels, so superchargers, to bitchin’ new floor mats for your old clunker you’ve got to keep another year until the economy improves, it’s all here. Too bad John Q. Public can’t get in to drool over it.

World’s Largest Motorcycle Auction

Early January, South Point hotel-casino;

The name says it all. If you like classic motorcycles, be at the South Point in early January. Start saving: In January, a Brough Superior SS100 sold for $256,000.