By: Roger Amsden, Laconia Daily Sun
David McGrath, general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, says that he and the staff at New England’s largest professional sports venue aren’t looking in the rear view mirror as the 2018 event season opens.
“We’re very focused on the events we’ll be hosting this year and maintaining the close relationships we have with our fans and the town of Loudon. We know how to host major events and make them enjoyable experiences. We’re a world class track and we’re engaged and hitting on all cylinders,” said McGrath.
He says NHMS moved quickly to fill in the hole left in its schedule by the loss of its September NASCAR race to its sister track in Las Vegas. This fall will mark the first time in 20 years that the track will have only one top-tier NASCAR race.
McGrath said the speedway looked for something that would produce the kind of exciting racing New England fans have come to expect and thinks that the Full Throttle weekend set for Sept. 21-22 fills the bill.
The three-race weekend will feature a 250-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified race, the longest in the tour's history.
The Whelen Modified Tour has raced more events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway than any other NASCAR series, and for good reason.
McGrath said the mile oval sets up the modifieds to put on one of the most exciting races in America each time they visit. The leaders will race nose-to-tail with regular lead changes. In fact, there's often one that will occur on the final lap of the race to change the outcome by the time the checkered flag drops.
September’s race weekend will also feature a global cast of drivers from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, PEAK Mexico and Whelen Euro series, and for the first time ever, the NASCAR Pinty's Series, which has never previously held a race outside of Canada.
“It’s a great event and we’re looking to grow it into a major attraction,” said McGrath, who notes that big races that fill the Speedway’s 92,000-seat venue produce an economic impact on the order of $190 million for the state of New Hampshire.
Plans for a one-time three-day country music festival at the speedway are on hold pending the outcome of a case in New Hampshire Superior Court in Concord. The festival received unanimous approval from the Loudon Planning Board last fall but the decision has been contested by a group of nearby residents who maintain that it violates an agreement they negotiated with former speedway owner Bob Bahre prior to opening of the speedway.
Monster Energy Series
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will make its only appearance in New England from July 20-22 and Friday’s Pole Day will set the table for a weekend full of racing.
The day's schedule will be packed with practice sessions across the four series competing during the weekend with the feature event being a late-afternoon qualifying for Sunday's New Hampshire 301. As has been the case in recent years, the qualifying will again run as a three-stage, elimination format as the best drivers in the world compete for the Coors Light Pole Award.
Saturday’s tripleheader will open with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Eastern Propane & Oil 100. The open wheel racing has always been a fan favorite at NHMS.
The Lakes Region 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race will run as the feature event of the tripleheader of Saturday. The race features a mix of NASCAR's next wave of stars, along with cameo appearances from some of the top drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. That cast often includes former Cup Series Champion, Kyle Busch, who has won the race in each of the past two years.
Read the complete article on laconiadailysun.com.