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Sep 19, 2014 10:03 AM

NASCAR in NH: Much more than just a race


It's NASCAR weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway! All the week's action leads up to Sunday's race, the Sylvania 300 in the the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

General Manager of the track, Jerry Gappens says the new bracketology format has brought about a resurgence of fans and office pool betting much like the NCAA basketball tournament in March. Gappens says, "The great news for race fans is if their favorite driver had a bad race in Chicago for example, they could come and win New Hampshire and move into the next round." The races this weekend will see full field of 43 cars with 16 having the opportunity to win the championship.

NHMS is unique in that there have been 13 different races with 13 different winners, so, as Gappens says, "It shows how competitive racing here in New Hampshire is, and how hard it is to win and certainly to repeat win."

Several factors play into the conditions on the track. The tires are especially temperature sensitive, so a really warm or cold day could effect the speed and maneuverability of the cars. With the July races usually close to 90 degrees, Gappens says, drivers will notice a difference. "20 degree difference in temperature certainly makes for some challenges for drivers but its great for the fans."

NHMS plans on a capacity crowd of 100,000 on Sunday, and early this week, there were already 900 campers on site, with another 4000 expected. Gappens says last year fans came from 44 states and 9 foreign countries so they expect a similar outcome this year. The July and September races pump a combined revenue of $200 million dollars into the state.

Even if you aren't a serious NASCAR fan, there is plenty to do at the track to keep you entertained including: zip lining, a bounce house, go-cart racing, live auctions, food, tailgating, pre-race pit passes and more. Gappens calls it "a state fair on steroids!"

For those who are big NASCAR fans, Gappens says there are countless opportunities to meet your favorite drivers. Danica Patrick, is one who will host a Q & A on the track on the morning of Sunday's race. Patrick has attracted several younger female fans into the world of NASCAR driving.

For first timers, Gappens recommends comfortable clothes and shoes, sunblock, hat, earplugs and a cooler if want to bring food or water. And, he says, plan to come early to walk around or tailgate.

For more information go to NHMS.com.


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