The roads around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway facilities is an odd one: 23mph. When Reddit user JayhawkRacer posted the unusual speed limit sign, the comments dove into speculation of why such an odd speed was chosen.
There were two main theories behind the chosen speed. The first was that the speed limit was more likely to be noticed, and therefore obeyed, because of how unusual the speed is. The other theory was that it was to honor a local racer who died way too young.
Spencer Clark was only 19 years old when he was killed in a car accident in 2006, according to an AP report. He and another man, Andrew Phillips, were towing a car when a crosswind caught the trailer and made them lose control. The two were thrown from the truck and died.
Clark was on the fast track to NASCAR stardom before his death, and had just recently raced at his home track, LVMS, in his first Busch Series (Now the Xfinity Series) race against 15 cup drivers according to ReviewJournal.com. Kyle Busch knew all about Clark’s skills, and knows that he would have been big once he reached a national stage, saying:
“Spencer was fast, and he showed that he was good in Legends cars and the Super Late Models at the Bullring. Unfortunately his tragic accident happened too soon to show the national sport how good he could have become and how far his potential would allow him to go.”
His car number was 23, thus the theory of the speed limit being an homage to the young racer. A great theory, and a lot of people mentioned that being the case, but the more we searched the less we could find, so we went straight to the source.
We reached out to LVMS to get the real story behind the speed limits. As touching as the Spencer Clark theory was, the real reason is the much more mundane first theory.
LVMS PR said that the odd speed limit really is designed to stick out and be memorable in order to slow people down while on the property. Instead of the speed limit being a nod to Spencer, the speedway erected a separate memorial to him in the park at the Bullring.