NASCAR in New Hampshire

I’ve talked about some of the things that happen in and around the Ash Street Inn here in Manchester, NH in some of my previous posts.  And, with temperatures expected to drop into the low 30s for the next couple of nights, it may seem a little early to bring up this topic anyway.  But two things happen in northern New England come June 1st – it’s time to plant the garden and it’s time to get ready for NASCAR.  That’s right – NASCAR in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), at 1122 Route 106 North in Loudon, NH, is the site of two great NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races every year.  The first, the Lenox Industrial Tools 301, takes place on June 27.  The second, the Sylvania 300, which is the first of the “Chase” events, takes place on September 19.  With over 100,000 spectators anticipated for both events, it’s a great time for NASCAR enthusiasts.  The little town of Loudon, with a population of just over 5,000 residents, is a bit overwhelmed with the influx of visitors but everyone manages to have a great time.  In order to get everyone out of town after the race, they even turn 5 out of the 6 lanes on I-93 into southbound lanes for most of Sunday afternoon to accommodate all the extra traffic heading home!

With NHMS about 25 miles (30 minutes on a good day – an hour or two on race day) from the Ash Street Inn, we don’t get many guests for the races but we do get everyone else.  We get the last minute, frantic calls asking us what’s going on in New Hampshire and why can’t they find 10 rooms for their christening guests!  We carefully explain that there is a hugely popular NASCAR event in Loudon, NH that weekend and wait for their response … what the heck is a NASCAR?!?  Oh well, we can’t all be enthusiasts now can we.