From the March 5, 2013, Las Vegas Review-Journal "Rancho Drive played a role during Second World War" by Laura Phelps.
With the coming of war, a path was needed in Las Vegas to connect war-related materials from the north in Ely or Henderson. Some of the war freight was carried by trains and some more in trucks. It was decided to build a bypass around downtown Las Vegas.
The road most likely received its name from a local ranch or estate in the area.
This new road followed the bed of the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad. Since it was laid out for trains it only had a 3% grade.
Today, Rancho Drive is a main road connecting Centennial Hills with downtown Las Vegas, running parallel with Nevada-599 which divides North Las Vegas from Las Vegas.
A Road With a War Background. --RoadDog