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NASCAR and Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel and Casino have agreed to develop a NASCAR Cafe family entertainment complex within the existing Sahara Casino. The complex will carry the NASCAR Cafe banner and will include a 400-seat upstairs dining area, as well as a dual track ride where guests race in simulated NASCAR Winston Cup race cars on a roller coaster type track through the Cafe. In addition, an existing 35,000-square-foot venue called SpeedWorld will be converted to the NASCAR Cafe theme, featuring virtual reality racing simulators and two 3-D motion simulator theatres. The Las Vegas NASCAR Cafe, scheduled to open in early '99, will be the chain's fourth outlet, joining locations in Myrtle Beach, Nashville and Orlando (NASCAR). VIVA LAS VEGAS: NASCAR made its Las Vegas debut with the Las Vegas 400, but it "won't go down as the kind of exciting show NASCAR or the city is famous for providing," according to Holly Cain of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Although many of the capacity crowd of 107,000 "remained seated" during the race and "some fans even left before" it ended, "most" of the crowd "appeared to enjoy its experience." Traffic delays "made for lots of late arrivals," but the Speedway hired .38 Special to play a concert after the race to "alleviate some of the post-race congestion" (Holly Cain, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/2).
Total attendance for the Advanta Championships men's tennis tournament at Philadelphia's CoreStates Center was 30,420, "down almost 9,000 from last year," according to Bill Fleischman of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. IMG is in its second year as owner and operator of the event. CoreStates "was about three-quarters full" for yesterday's final in which Pete Sampras defeated Thomas Enqvist. Sampras said after the match: "The (tournament) seems to have lost its luster. The crowds were very sparse, to say the least." Fleischman writes that while Sampras "was the only marquee" player at the event, "what's alarming to IMG and Advanta is, even people who had tickets from sponsors for the seats closest to the court didn't show up." IMG's Barbara Perry, the tournament's Exec Dir, said a decision would be made on the event's future "within a month" (DAILY NEWS, 3/2). More Sampras: "Six, seven years ago [the event] was packed, but it seems like each year it's gotten worse. If people aren't going to come out and support it, I'm sure there's another city that will" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 3/2). ONE TOURNAMENT TOWN? Philadelphia "is the only U.S. city other than New York that hosts both men's and women's tournaments." IMG's Perry: "Maybe it's reached a point where cities can't support both. When we bought this event last year, we knew it would be tough, but we want to try to make it work" (Ray Parrillo, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/28).