Inaugural dinner to benefit Speedway Children's Charities; Mel Larson to be honored, Jeff Gordon to speak
Monday, January 23, 2006
LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Speedway Children's Charities will honor Las Vegas legend Mel Larson at the inaugural "Night of Champions" Tuesday, Jan. 31 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
All proceeds from the dinner, which features four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon as keynote speaker, will go to the Las Vegas chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. Plans call for the event to be conducted on an annual basis, each year honoring a member of the community.
"This is a fitting tribute to Mel Larson," said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. "Mel has worn many hats in the motorsports world, and he also was a pioneer in marketing in Las Vegas during his days with Circus Circus. Mel's done it all, from driving, publicizing and promoting motorsports events to bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Las Vegas with his marketing innovations. Few have meant more to our community."
Larson provided much of the inspiration and guidance in conceptualizing Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He worked closely with the speedway's original ownership during the early and mid-1990s and is a longtime friend of O. Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports, LVMS's parent company.
"I've known Mel for 50 years, since his driving days and his days of promoting events in the southwest," Smith said. "He's been a true innovator in everything he's done, and he's long been a champion of charitable causes. Neither the racing world nor the city of Las Vegas would be the same without his contributions. We're thrilled to honor Mel in this way."
In addition to his speech, Gordon will take part with Larson in a meet-and-greet session during the reception. The speedway also will recognize the 2005 season champions at its drag-racing facility, The Strip, and its 3/8-mile oval, The Bullring.
"We're looking forward to laying a solid foundation for this event's future," Powell said. "It gives us a great vehicle in which to honor an individual who has made contributions to our community, while we at the same time can raise money for a very worthy cause. It's important to note that all proceeds from this event will directly benefit children in Southern Nevada."
The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30. The meet-and-greet, limited in number, with Larson and NASCAR's Gordon is set for 7-7:30 with dinner and the program to follow.
To purchase a table or tickets for this event, please contact Janae Melvin at (702) 632-8242.