NASCAR Las Vegas 2014: The most interesting command in the world

Jerry Markland

“The most interesting man in the world” will serve as the grand marshal for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Las Vegas.

SB Nation's GIF Tournament V

A roundup of what you need to know leading into Sunday's NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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He doesn't always give the command for driver's to start their engines, but when he does...

"The most interesting man in the world," otherwise known as the guy from the Dos Equis beer commercials, and played by actor Jonathan Goldsmith, will serve as the grand marshal for Sunday's Kobalt 400.

"When it comes to NASCAR races, I prefer Las Vegas Motor Speedway," he said in a statement.

Goldsmith has appeared in more than 25 feature films, including "Hang 'Em High" and "The Shootist" with John Wayne. He also had roles on television shows in "Gunsmoke," "Dynasty" and the original "Dallas."

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You would think since Kyle Busch is in his hometown of Las Vegas he would receive far fewer jeers than he would during a typical NASCAR event, where he is among the least popular drivers on the circuit.

Ah, not so much.

First, Busch admits he didn't make too many friends growing up. This was in large part because of how dominant he was on the track.

"When I was coming up through the ranks I won a lot and probably won too much and didn't make very many friends," Busch said Thursday. "So I'm not sure I don't have many pulling for me anyways because I kicked their butt too much."

Another contributing factor to why Busch will still draw an inordinate amount of boos this weekend is because the majority of fans in attendance are not from the area. A large number of fans view the Las Vegas race weekend as an opportunity to vacation, and hence they have no allegiance to the local hero.

"This is a vacation destination for a lot of race fans, so there all a lot of out-of-towners that do come here," he said. "It's not 100,000 from Las Vegas that will be sitting in these grandstands. I bet you it's like 20 or 30 (thousand), but it's just a part of the deal."

In addition to Busch, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver's older brother, Kurt, and a pair of Nationwide Series regulars, Dylan Kwasniewski and Brendan Gaughan, are also Las Vegas natives. Of the four, Kyle is the only one to win on his home track, having won the 2009 Sprint Cup race.

"It's been a journey, but it's always fun to come back and race here," Busch said. "We won in 2009 and look forward to always being able to try to capture another win here if we can. This time is no different."

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With his wife due to give birth to the couple's first child, Paul Menard may need to make a hasty exit back to North Carolina. Just in case he does, Matt Crafton, the defending Camping World Truck Series champion, on standby this weekend.

Because Crafton has never competed in Sprint Cup race, NASCAR mandated he take some laps in Menard's No. 27 car Thursday before gaining approval.

"It's tough, because you just don't know when or even if it will happen," Crafton said. "But kind of like that backup quarterback, you have to be ready at any time. Paul and I have been good friends going back to 2001. We've raced together, and I actually spotted for him early in his career. For him to have the confidence in me to get the job done if he has to head back home -- that's awesome."

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