Speed Week begins at NH Motor Speedway
Gov. John Lynch awards a trophy to radio personality WHEB's Greg Kretschmar, after go-kart race kick off event in Pembroke held Tuesday. The Governor was unable to race other media members, but told Kretschmar in jest that if he had, he would have won the trophy. (Larissa Mulkern/Union Leader Correspondent)
Media members had a chance to compete with each other at Route 106 Race Park in Pembroke on Tuesday. The event helped kick off New Hampshire Motor Speedway Race Week in Loudon. The Sylvania 300, the second race in the Sprint Cup Chase for the Cup, will be held Sunday, Sept. 23 at NH Motor Speedway. (Larissa Mulkern/Union Leader Correspondent)
Amelia Ladd of Route 106 Race Park in Pembroke assists Tracy Caruso of WZID-FM Radio with her seatbelt before she heads off for the first heat during a media go cart racing event held Tuesday to kick off New Hampshire Motor Speedway Race Week. (Larissa Mulkern/Union Leader Correspondent)
A leg injury sidelined Gov. John Lynch (right) from racing go carts during a race week kickoff at Route 106 Race Park in Pembroke on Tuesday, but ace driver Greg Kretschmar of WHEB FM radio (in cart) clinched the top prize trophy after competing with other reporters. (Larissa Mulkern/Union Leader Correspondent)
New Hampshire Motor Speedway Race Week kicked off Tuesday with media members racing one another on go-karts at the Route 106 Race Park before dignitaries including Gov. John Lynch.
The buzz of the go-karts is nothing to compare with the roar of NASCAR engines that will compete in a variety of series races beginning on Saturday. The biggest race in the NHMS lineup this weekend is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300, a 300-lap, 317.4-mile race to be held at the speedway in Loudon.
Lynch, who was sidelined with a leg injury and didn't race in the go-kart event this year, said NHMS, through its racing events, brings in tens of millions of dollars to the state's economy.
Restaurants, hotels, and shops all benefit from visitors who attend the races, he added.
“I've been following racing more since I've been governor,” he said, adding that NHMS hosts an annual Governor's Breakfast at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHAD). “I've gotten to know some of the drivers. That makes it fun when you get to know the drivers, who to root for.”
During the post-race press conference on Tuesday, dignitaries recognized the economic and social impact the NHMS has on the state.
“New Hampshire is honored to be the home of the speedway. We want everybody to come out. It's also a great opportunity to showcase New Hampshire and what a great state we are, particularly as we enter the fall season. The leaves are beginning to turn, and we hope the people who come to New Hampshire fall in love with our great state. We'll see you at the races,” said Lynch.
After he presented the kart race trophy to radio personality Greg Kretschmar, Lynch joked, “I tell you if I was racing today, Greg wouldn't be holding the trophy.”
NHMS General Manager Jerry Gappens credited the governor for his leadership and support of the speedway during his time in office.
“We're going to miss you. He's got a lifetime pass,” said Gappens.
Gappens noted that history will be made on Sunday when New Hampshire-born driver Mike Olsen teams up with New Hampshire-born car owner and crew chief Frank Stoddard for the Sylvania 300. Olsen pilots the No. 32 Ford for Stoddard. The two are lifelong friends who grew up together in North Haverhill.
Race Week events continue with many activities leading up to the big races this weekend. On Thursday at 3 p.m., NHMS will unveil its premier on-site U.S. Legend Car dealership, a new business that provides parts for up-and-coming race teams with hopes of developing new teams and drivers. Former Legend car drivers include Kyle and Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
A Fan Fest starts after the unveiling at 5:30 p.m.
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