Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NASCAR takes on Loudon this weekend

An aerial view of New Hampshire Motor Speedway

It’s not the first time NASCAR has visited New Hampshire in mid-July; the first race at the Loudon track was usually at the end of June or in July. The second race usually starts the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in September; however, this year it'll be the second race of 10.

NHMS is known to host many races at the track during the year, but the NASCAR weekend is jam-packed with exciting races such as the K&N Pro-Series, Nationwide, Sprint Cup along with the Whelen Modified Series.

New Hampshire is part of the six states that make up New England, and drivers who were raised in any one of these states consider NHMS home. Additionally, Canadians have also have the tendency to consider New Hampshire home; the track attracts numerous fans from the province of Quebec in Canada.

Canadian driver Andrew Ranger will race in both the K&N Pro Series and the Nationwide race. Ranger won the Canadian Tire Series in Toronto last Saturday.

Joey Logano, driver of No. 20 Home Depot, was raised in Middleton, Conn. He won his first Cup race at New Hampshire during his rookie year in June 2009. Logano also won twice in 2007 in the K&N Pro Series at NHMS.

Other hometown drivers include:

Matt Frahm, a 21-year-old from North Salem, N.H., will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in the No. 39 for Go Green Racing. He's made two of his three career K&N Pro Series East starts at New Hampshire.

Kevin Lepage, from Shelburne, Vt., will be racing at his home track in the No. 52 for Jimmy Means in the Nationwide Series.

The weekend begins Thursday night at 5 p.m. ET, with the hauler parade. Joey Logano fans have two opportunies to meet their hometown hero. The first chance is an appearance at the Concord, N.H., Home Depot store on Thursday, July 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The store is located at 42 D’Amante Drive. Logano will sign autographs and the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota will be there. Wristbands will be distributed starting at 5 p.m. to the first 700 fans. Immediately following, Logano then heads to Fan Fest for an 8:30 meet and greet with the fans. A wristband is required for entrance to meet Logano and get an autograph. Fans who buy merchandise at his hauler will be given a wristband. The band Steel Magnolia’s will perform from 9 p.m. until the end of the night.

Fans who attend "Fans First Friday" will get a chance to watch Sprint Cup qualifying at 3 p.m.; right after that, Travis Pastrana will join the K&N Pro Series, scheduled to race at 4:45 p.m. (no word on television coverage as of yet).

On Saturday, Nationwide teams will qualify at 10:35 followed by the race at 3:30 p.m., which will air on ESPN. Right after that, Spring Cup driver Ryan Newman will race in the Whelen Modified Series at 4:45. Newman won both poles and races in 2010 (no word on whether or not the Modified Series will air on TV).

Sunday is the much anticipated Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup race. the race begins at 1 p.m. and can be viewed live on TNT.

Will fans witness magic this weekend? Will Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton or Jimmie Johnson, those who have several wins in summer race, win again? Will Dale Jr. win? Will Clint Bowyer have a redemption win? Or will hometown native Logano win?

Tune in to find out. For those of you wanting more coverage, New Hampshire’s hottest rock station Rock 101, WGIR FM will be hosting the entire weekend from the race track. You may listen online at rock101fm.com.

One more note on New Hampshire: there's a band, SSP, that made a video, "Granite State of Mind," a parody of Jay- Z and Alicia Key's hit single "Empire State of Mind." You can find the catchy, comical song on YouTube.


Genevieve was raised in New Hampshire, about 20 minutes from Loudon and has too many memories of her home track and the Lakes Region, which she calls Lake Winni a half hour drive from the track, where it's been rumored that many NASCAR drivers have stayed during the race weekend. When Genevieve does visit NH, she prefers to be lazy and hang out on the seacoast beaches than to visit the mountains in the north and most find it comical that she hates winter sports, where most New Englanders love to ski and ride snowmobiles. What's more humorous is that she left the NH seacoast to live on Lake Norman, a few short miles from Charlotte, N.C., but a solid three hours from the nearest beach. She's a health nut, an aunt and an up-and-coming infamous writer. (Side note: You'll get to find out more about Genevieve this week as she goes to Loudon to report live coverage about NASCAR events and in the upcoming "Beyond the Byline" series. She's pictured on a boat cruise on Lake Winni.)

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