Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fast Facts: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

New Hampshire Motor Speedway
credit: Getty Images/Chris Trotman
This weekend, NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup visits New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH, for the Sylvania 300. Learn more about this New England track, known as the “Magic Mile,” in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Ground was broken for the former New Hampshire International Speedway on Aug. 13, 1989 on the site of what was the Bryar Motorsports Park road course. The Bahre family redeveloped it into a multi-purpose facility, adding a 1.058-mile oval to the 1.6-mile road course. In addition to hosting NASCAR events, the facility hosts the Loudon Classic motorcycle race annually.
  • NASCAR’s Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) made its debut at the track in July 1990. In July 1993, the Cup Series made its debut at the track, with Rusty Wallace heading to victory lane. That race would be Davey Allison’s last race, as he was severely injured the next day in a helicopter crash at Talladega Superspeedway; Allison would later die from his injuries.
  • From 1992-1998, the track hosted open wheel racing – CART from 1992-1995 and the Indy Racing League from 1996-1998. The IndyCar Series attempted to make a comeback to New Hampshire in 2011, but poor attendance and controversial decisions by race officials left it off of the 2012 schedule.
  • Following the 1996 season, owner Bob Bahre and Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Bruton Smith purchased North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina and moved one of its Cup Series dates to New Hampshire.
  • The 2000 season at the track was shrouded in tragedy, as two up-and-coming drivers lost their lives in separate practice accidents. In May, fourth-generation driver Adam Petty lost his life after his throttle stuck exiting Turn Two while practicing for the Busch Series event; less than two months later, Kenny Irwin Jr. died of similar complications while practicing for the upcoming Cup Series race. The accidents led track owners to run restrictor plates for the Cup Series race in September 2000, which Jeff Burton led wire-to-wire.
  • Prior to the 2008 season, Speedway Motorsports Inc. purchase the track from the Bahre family, renaming it New Hampshire Motor Speedway to coincide with other SMI interests.
  • In addition to the Cup Series, NHMS hosts NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series, K&N Pro Series East and the Whelen Modified Tour.
  • Learn more about NHMS at www.nhms.com

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