Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich, award-winning actor/NH native Adam Sandler and former Red Sox great Rico Petrocelli welcomed fans at NHMS on Sunday.

Jul 19, 2015 7:45 PM

Adam Sandler, Patriots star kickoff NH's NASCAR action

LOUDON - The gates opened once again for the 25th annual race weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, concluding with the 5-hour ENERGY 301 on Sunday afternoon.

Fans paced through the scorching temperatures, which bordered around a sunny 90 degrees throughout most of the afternoon.

"We come every year. We sit out here, no matter how hot it is," said Wendy Nolet, who has been attending the race with her Merrimack family for more than 20 years.

Nolet was sitting aside thousands of others who came to see the high-speed action, which was led by Patriots Super Bowl champion Rob Ninkovich behind the wheel of the official pace car.

Ninkovich told NH1 News he was impressed with the fan base in New Hampshire.

"It is a different world. I mean when you come in, you can tell that the fans are real loyal to their drivers, and huge fans are just coming and having a good time," he said.

Actor Adam Sandler, a Manchester native, served as Sunday's grand marshal calling for NASCAR drivers to 'start their engines.'

"I don't know, you just know you're in New Hampshire. There's something about it that feels awesome," Sandler said. "I come when I can, and I know a lot of the guys. I love it here."

Former Red Sox great Rico Petrocelli gave the invocation, honoring four marines shot and killed in Chattanooga last week.

The 301-lap race included seven caution flags, and a fire near #7 Alex Bowman's right-front tire.

Kyle Busch was the leader at this one, however.

Busch once again scored the checkered flag - marking his third win in four races.

It's an incredible achievement for the #18 driver, who missed the first 11 starts this season with a broken leg and foot.


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