NASCAR

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A group of residents say they are still considering their legal options after the Loudon Zoning Board on Thursday approved a variance for a multi-day country music festival at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

If you're planning to travel toward the Lakes Region on Sunday you should expect a lot of traffic.

An estimated 60,000 people and roughly 30,000 cars will be headed to the NASCAR race at 2 p.m. in Loudon that day.

That means major roads heading in that direction, both before and after the race, will be backed up. Bill Boyton with the state’s Department of Transportation says drivers should plan accordingly.

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Race weekend is here and it's the last hurrah for the NASCAR September series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

Tim Sink, president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, says this season finale has fans in a celebratory mood, even if it is a little bittersweet.

Track owners announced earlier this year that the Loudon speedway would not host the September race starting in 2018. Speedway Motorsports owns Las Vegas Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and plans to move the fall Monster Energy and Camping World Truck Series races to Las Vegas next fall.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Loudon Zoning Board heard more than four hours of arguments Thursday both for and against a variance request made by the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The track is hoping to host a three-day country music festival next summer.

The event would draw an estimated 20,000 music fans per day, with an estimated 5,000 attendees camping out on the Speedway grounds.

“Our team is geared specifically for these types of events, and have honed our skills over the years, and to not be boastful, but we are pretty good at it,” said David McGrath, the Speedway’s general manager.

Wikimedia Commons

NASCAR is back in New Hampshire this weekend. Races will be held Saturday and Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, where a hundred thousand fans are expected to watch some of the country’s top NASCAR drivers burn rubber.

Drivers are entering the second half of their race season, and they’ll find themselves on an unforgiving track here in New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

After 20 years of racing, Loudon is losing one of its biggest economic engines.

Track owners announced this week that the annual September NASCAR event held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be relocated to Las Vegas. The town will still host a mid-summer race, but local businesses are bracing for the impact.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

It's NASCAR weekend in New Hampshire, and the state is expecting an influx of race fans over the weekend.

CANDID1PHOTO via Flickr CC

NASCAR Chase contender Joey Logano is making some "campaign" stops in New Hampshire as he prepares to participate in the upcoming Sprint Cup playoff later this month.

Logano, of Middletown, Connecticut, is touring parts of the state on Tuesday before the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on Sept. 27.

He's stopping at Manchester Community College, Robie's Country Store in Hooksett, and the New Hampshire Secretary of State's Office.

Patty Wright, MPBN

It's being billed as the first-ever public-private sponsorship of a race car. Today Gov. Paul LePage announced that the state of Maine will use Fort Kent NASCAR driver Austin Theriault's car as a billboard for the slogan, "Maine is open for business." The sponsorship cost the state $50,000. Some are celebrating the move, while others question whether it will drive business to the state.

via Bill & Vicki T. - flickr Creative Commons

During the Depression, the face of hunger was easy to spot: gaunt, worn, and hollow-eyed. Today’s malnourished are tougher to spot. We’ll get a close up of the new face of American hunger. Plus, over 46 million Americans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The average daily benefit per person per day is four dollars. We’ll find out what living on a SNAP budget really looks like. And, how is America’s sweet tooth may be rooted in Prohibition?

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


Logan Shannon / NHPR

NASCAR drivers can reach speeds of 200 plus miles per hour. Remarkably, when wrecks occur, drivers overwhelmingly survive the accidents, but they don’t always walk away unscathed. On today’s show: concussions in NASCAR, and the challenges drivers face after the smoke clears. We'll also talk to a futurist about ectogenesis, or artificial wombs. Often referenced in science fiction, the idea of children being grown outside of a mother's body is inching closer to reality. Plus, earlier this year, the New York Daily News reported that the U.S. is in grave danger of a clown shortage. We head to a clown convention to find out why membership is down, but why clowns are unlikely to completely disappear. 

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


Lane changes and detours will be common around Concord on Sunday to deal with traffic congestion from the NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  The race in Loudon starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, but officials anticipate the most congestion will occur late afternoon and early evening.  The Exit 14 ramp on I-93 northbound will be closed from 5 to 11 a.m. Sunday. That same exit ramp and the Exit 15-East ramp on the southbound side of I-93 will be closed from about 3:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.  Route 106 --leading to and from the track --ill have lane changes to accommodate traffic flow.

Wisconsin Dept. Of Natural Resources via Flickr CC

New Hampshire's forest rangers are cautioning visitors to this weekend's NASCAR race: If you're camping, buy the firewood locally or have a certificate showing it's been heat-treated.

They're trying to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer, an invasive species that has destroyed millions of ash trees over the past decade. It's been found in some areas of New Hampshire.

Rangers will inspect firewood coming into New Hampshire Motor Speedway from July 9-11. The campground at the speedway is the largest in the state and the race attracts more than 100,000 fans.

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Our favorite content, curated in one amazing hour of radio. This week, the science behind J.K. Rowling's unmasking, a guy who played Mr. Darcy at a Jane Austen Summer Camp, the Libertarian festival for Seasteaders, a new telescope technology that will send balloons into space, regular folks drive NASCAR cars, and a musician who writes songs based on the New York Times column, "Modern Love."

Logan Shannon

On July 14th, Brian Vickers led a group of professional NASCAR drivers to take the sprint cup at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.  Less than a week later, a group of men and women with absolutely no racing experience took to the same track, in the same six-hundred horsepower stock cars, in hopes of hitting the same high-octane speeds as the pros.  The Richard Petty Driving Experience is a payed sports adventure that lets NASCAR fans get a taste of life in the fast lane… Producer Taylor Quimby was with them in Loudon last Friday, and brought us back this audio postcard.

Creating A Community of Fans At N.H. Motor Speedway

Jul 15, 2013
Amanda Loder / NHPR

This past weekend, thousands of people braved clogged roads and crowded parking lots to watch NASCAR racing at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.  But a small group of fans pitched tents in a grassy parking area for the duration. 

Camping on track grounds has been going on for a long time, but this is only the second summer it’s been legal.   Amanda Loder talked to some residents of this temporary village, and produced this audio postcard.

Today is the big day for racing at New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayNASCAR drivers will compete at the Loudon track this afternoon in a Sprint Cup series race.  While thousands of people have been taking in events all weekend, a group of hardcore fans is camping at the track.  Dennis Joyce is a Loudon regular.  He says he prefers NASCAR over all other sports.

Individual sports are always volatile, and after being the next big thing, NASCAR's popularity has stalled.

A lot had to do with the economy. In a sport that depends on sponsorships and rich owners — like those good buddies Mitt Romney kicks tires with --– NASCAR was especially vulnerable.

And as for fans, when it became cutback time, they had to think twice about gassing up those big old RVs and driving a far piece to sit in those ear-shattering stadiums.

Photo by atelier tee via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1:

Fondly described as Talladega Nights meets Catcher in the Rye,  the new film Racing Dreams chronicles a year in the life of three 'tweens' who dream of becoming NASCAR drivers. They compete in the "little league" of professional racing, the World Karting Association’s National Pavement Series.