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Governor’s no-fans decision for South Point 400 ‘disheartening’

Despite what you’ve been hearing, the “400” in South Point 400 represents the number of miles in Sunday’s NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and not the number of hotel-casinos upset by the decision not to allow spectators at the track amid the coronavirus threat.

“Absolutely it will hurt us,” South Point president Ryan Growney said about Gov. Steve Sisolak denying LVMS’ request to allow in 8,000 fans — about 10 percent of its seating capacity. “But it’s not just us, it’s citywide. All these casinos could use a little business.”

Growney said he thinks LVMS could have allowed a few thousand fans into the track without compromising their safety. He said the timing of the decision made it difficult on those who had invested in weekend packages to cancel at short notice.

“A fast no is better than a slow yes,” he said. “Eight days out, we had to tell them, sorry, you can’t come to Las Vegas. If things had gotten worse, I understand we have to say no. But the (COVID-19) case count has been getting lower and we’re meeting the criteria” to open more of the city.

Growney called the no-fans decision “disheartening.”

“We’ve grown this race, and it’s become a very important thing for South Point and all the other sponsors that have developed their packages and bring people to town. And now these people aren’t going to be able to enjoy a playoff race in Las Vegas.”

At least not from the grandstands. And not from the luxury suites, either.

“Watching on TV like everybody else,” Growney said about how he would be spending race day.

Around the horn

— According to a Las Vegas person familiar with the situation, $6 million of a stated $10 million goal has been raised for a National Finals Rodeo purse at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, in the short time since it was announced the 2020 pro rodeo Super Bowl would be moving from the Thomas & Mack Center amid COVID-19 restrictions.

The Lone Star folks might need some pointers on how to conduct a news conference — who among those watching the announcement will forget the poor sound quality and the conspicuous folding chair in the foreground of the video shot? But at least the contestants are going to make some greenbacks this year, so credit the Texas contingent for making lemonade out of lemons.

— Interesting tidbit from NFL Research: Alec Ingold, who scored the first Raiders’ touchdown in Allegiant Stadium on Monday, and Clem Daniels, who did the same at Oakland Coliseum in 1966, share the same birthday. Both were born July 8.

Ingold, listed at 40-1 odds at the MGM to tally the Raiders’ first TD in their new digs (he was an 8-1 field bet at most properties), scored on a 3-yard pass from Derek Carr.

Daniels, who was 81 when he died in 2019, scored on a 22-yard pass from Cotton Davidson. The four-time AFL all-star’s TD came in the Raiders’ second home game of 1966 after the team was shut out 31-0 by the Houston Oilers in the first regular-season game played at the coliseum.

Halfback Tony Teresa, a San Jose State product who played quarterback for the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions, scored the first TD in Raiders history on Sept. 11, 1960, at San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium on a 13-yard pass from Tom Flores.

No, Teresa was not born on July 8. His birthday was Dec. 8, 1933.

— The NCAA adopted a rule this year that allows zero to be worn on a football jersey. The number was immediately claimed by Georgia freshman tight end Darnell Washington, a former Desert Pines High School star.

Washington was considered the No. 1 tight end prospect in the nation when he signed with the Bulldogs. At 6 feet 7 inches and 260 pounds, he’s also an exceptionally large man.

His new nickname, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is “Big O.”

I know, not exactly original. But you tell him Oscar Robertson called it first.

0:01

— Raiders fan Donald Bilisnki’s tongue-in-cheek Twitter comparison of Clem Daniels’ first TD at Oakland Coliseum to Alec Ingold’s at Allegiant Stadium:

“Clem Daniels’ reception was amazing at Oakland. He ran an out pattern by two guys smoking pot, then hurdled over the sewage spill on the five. Great score.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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