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BY DINT OF THE MINT: Recalling the Vegas race from which Hunter S. Thompson became permanently linked to the mythos of Las Vegas

Del Webb and his crew at the Mint just wanted people to come to his casino’s deer hunt in 1967. What they opened the way for was: A) One of the most famous pieces of journalism in American letters;
B) With Hunter S. Thompson’s iconic opening line, “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold,” generations of bad tattoos and bland Twitter bios.

The story that eventually landed in Rolling Stone as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” had a fundamentally weird start. Webb’s Mint Las Vegas procured a dune buggy to hand out as the top prize for its deer hunt (and if you ever wondered just how different Vegas was 50 years ago, that should tell you everything).

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PLANET NERD & THE RINGS OF GEEKDOM:  Our correspondent takes a wondrous journey through the videogame universe at LVL Up Expo

Forget the postwar despondency of Lost Generation literature or the Kerouacian meditations that foresaw legions of peripatetic Boomers. The single most prescient piece of American art in the 200-and-some-odd years of this great nation is Revenge of the Nerds.

No one in the ‘80s heyday of jocks-vs.-geeks war footing would have seen it coming, but the Great Pop-Cultural Revolution swept through the land, and the winners were in their glory at the LVL Up Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Feb. 21-23, 2020.


RACE-FULL ENTRANCE: As NASCAR’s Pennzoil Weekend roars into town, take a joyride through its highlights and history

If your heart pumps gasoline and you take your morning coffee with a side of motor oil, you already know the joys of NASCAR’s Pennzoil 400. You may also want to see a doctor. None of that sounds remotely healthy. If, instead, your last car purchase was a late-’90s Camry, you don’t know what you’re missing. Since 1998, NASCAR has made a home on the northern edge of Las Vegas, debuting what was then known as the Las Vegas 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race has gone through several name changes, settling on the Pennzoil 400 in 2018. More than just a race, NASCAR’s Pennzoil weekend (Feb. 21-23) is a celebration of motorsports in the desert. The event is expected to draw more than 85,000 attendees to town, generating an economic impact of $166.6 million.