Las Vegas, Nevada (February 25, 2013)–Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2011 inductee Art Sellinger has nurtured the RE/MAX World Long Drive Finals from a small event into an international phenomenon. And now his long ball stars will be going deep at the home of Las Vegas' NASCAR race: the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). The winner-take-all event–$250,000 will be won by the final big hitter standing–is scheduled for October 30 under the lights and out of the Turn Four bleachers. –By Brian Hurlburt
"The setting is simply awesome," said Art Sellinger, LDA Owner and CEO. "With the iconic backdrop of the Las Vegas skyline, there is not a more spectacular stage for the $250,000 winner-take-all finals live on Golf Channel. Our elite power hitters create ball speeds upward of 220 mph, roughly matched by the speed merchants at LVMS. It's speed on speed for a cool quarter million dollars."
Sellinger made the official announcement live from Las Vegas on Golf Channel, the new television partner. Sellinger was in Las Vegas for the RE/MAX International convention in addition to meetings to tie up the details of the new venue and new format. He was more than excited to talk about the idea that hatched during a ride down the Las Vegas freeway when his head started spinning about using the iconic Speedway as the host site while he was driving by the venue several months ago. In fact, he pulled off the road and called his longtime friend, and LVMS executive Kevin Camper, from the LVMS parking lot and the two had an impromptu meeting about the idea.
Sellinger said the championship tee would be placed in a section of seats that will accommodate thousands of fans. A special platform will be constructed in the grandstand on turn four approximately 75 feet above the track, setting up a straight shot to the natural grass infield. Finalists will be competing on a 50-yard grid that stretches well over 400 yards. The surface for the shootout will be an over-seeded rye grass that will be maintained by an area golf superintendent.
"To have the open 8 finalists back under the lights in Las Vegas at this venue promises to be both exciting an memorable," said Sellinger. "It's a spectacle that will have viewers and fans talking about for a long time."
The qualifying of the event will take place in Mesquite, Nevada, during September and at other times throughout the year. And Golf Channel is dedicating four shows in October leading up to the main event which will take place live on television for the first time in the event's history. "Like never before, the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships will be a live primetime event and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will provide a spectacular setting," said Tom Knapp, Golf Channel's Senior Vice President of Programming. "Golf Channel will be home to long drive programming throughout October, capped by the final 8 competitors squaring off under the lights with a life-changing $250,000 on the line for the winner."
Players will begin their "Road to Vegas" at qualifying sites around the globe starting March 1-3 at LDA's Desert Launch in Mesquite, Nevada. Regional and international qualifiers take place throughout the summer. More than 150 open division competitors will compete for the eight spots at LVMS in Mesquite on September 18-27.
"We're pleased to host the 2013 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship in two of the country's premier golf destinations – Las Vegas and Mesquite – and to be able to showcase Southern Nevada across the globe through the new broadcast partnership with Golf Channel and NBC Sports," said Julian Dugas, director of sports marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. "The new format and the worldwide exposure bring the event to a whole new level, and there is no better destination to provide the excitement and energy for the fans and the elite power golfers than Southern Nevada."