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Why NASCAR Fans Were Stranded in the Parking Lot Sunday Afternoon

During the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway yesterday, over 100,000 fans saw five different yellow caution flags fly during the event due to wrecks. But the accident that impacted these fans the most was one they didn’t even see – because it didn’t happen at the Speedway.

It was a collision between a Volkswagen and a tractor-trailer on southbound I-15 around the exit to Cheyenne Boulevard. And it caused massive traffic backups for racing fans trying to leave the speedway’s parking lot to head home.

The crash, which occurred just minutes before Matt Kenseth crossed the finish line to take the checkered flag, resulted in the death of the 31-year old woman who was driving the car. Metro Police indicate that the Volkswagen moved into the path of the 18-wheeler that was hauling hay. Two lanes had to be shut down for hours, which stacked up traffic back past the Bruce Woodbury Beltway and onto Speedway Boulevard, which takes fans from the racetrack to the freeway.

Metro Police were instructing fans to remain in the parking lot and await further instructions. As a result, NASCAR fans were stuck in traffic for hours, with some being unable to exit the parking lot until after 7:30pm – over 4 1/2 hours after the conclusion of the race. The freeway lanes finally reopened about 7pm.

But give credit to these tens of thousands of souls who were greatly inconvenienced by the I-15 wreck. Officials reported that most of the fans took the news in stride, and many of them reacted by simply extending their post-race tailgate parties.