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Vegas Diary: Is NASCAR Champion's Week long for Strip?

By Norm Clarke
VSiN columnist

kyle_busch
NASCAR Champion’s Week could be leaving Las Vegas, the home of Kyle Busch.

Las Vegas and the Wynn may be losing the star-studded NASCAR Champion’s Week down the road.

There was buzz at the Las Vegas NASCAR event last weekend that the organization would like to cut expenses by moving it back to the eastern seaboard.

It will be returning to Wynn Las Vegas in 2017, a resort spokesman told VSIN.com, but the rest of the agreement is confidential, he added.

A spy told me the rumors include moving the postseason extravaganza to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, known as the grand palace of Palm Beach, Fla.

The NASCAR vote helped deliver the presidency to Trump, and Brian France, the chairman of NASCAR, was among the early supporters to Trump’s run for the White House.

Trump has referred to Mar-a-Lago as his Southern White House, an alternative to Camp David, long the favored presidential retreat.

In a weekend interview with the Arizona Republic, France said he’s been hesitant to talk about politics because, “People don’t buy tickets to a race to hear my political views.

“But I do think that the middle class, the factory worker, has lost ground in recent years with job layoffs and exporting jobs. That’s our core fan,” he said.

“They’re good Americans,” he added, “playing by the rules, trying to get ahead. The more you make life better for them, obviously, the more disposable incomes they have to enjoy the sport they love. That’s a good thing for us.”

Several NASCAR insiders I talked to said they would be surprised to see France make that political leap. There would be pushback from a number of drivers and sponsors, they predicted.

The awkward factor in leaving Las Vegas, where the event relocated to in 2009 after years in New York City, is Steve Wynn’s close ties to Trump.

Wynn served as finance vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee.

Champion’s Week culminates with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, with the top drivers arriving via the red carpet.

June 10 superfight date?

Reports are swirling that the megafight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor could happen as soon as June.

The MMA site, FloCombat, claimed T-Mobile Arena has put the June 10 date on hold.

That report came days after ESPN’s Steve Levy, who was in Las Vegas last week, tweeted this on Wednesday:

“Hearing Mayweather/McGregor could happen sometime in first 2 weeks of June. #Vegas”

But there are doubts McGregor, who’s girlfriend, Dee Devlin, is due in May, would agree to June, given all the promotional commitments revolving such a superfight.

Mayweather, who would be risking his 49-0 record, announced last week he is coming out of retirement to take on the UFC phenom.

Mayweather, 40, has not fought since September 2015 when he beat welterweight Andre Berto.

The scene and heard 

Olivia Culpo, who won the 2012 Miss USA title at Planet Hollywood, has been dating New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola. She even gave him some advice when he made his runway debut at New York Fashion Week for designer Philipp Plein. When Amendola asked where he should be looking while walking the runway, Culpo said, “Don’t look at anybody. Look straight ahead.”

On this day...

March 14, 2009: Ventriloquist Terry Fator, whose blockbuster show features music and dead-on celebrity impersonations, moves to the Mirage theater bearing his name. At the VIP-packed premiere, he summons Lou “Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno to stand in for Cher as Fator sings both parts of “I Got You, Babe.”  

Sightings

Fator’s eighth anniversary party at the property on Monday included renting out Stack restaurant for a reception. Guests included comedian Murray Sawchuck, comedy legend Marty Allen and fellow ventriloquist superstar Dan Horn. In the audience that night, comedian Brian Regan and singer Frankie Moreno.

The punch line 

“Everyone is talking about the big snowstorm expected to hit New York. In fact, some are saying we could experience a whiteout. Things will even out on St. Patrick’s Day when we all experience a blackout.” – Jimmy Fallon.

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