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September 20. 2012 1:28AM

Already winners, five lottery players eager to race for big cash

Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, second from right, announces that five finalists will compete for the top prize of $100,000 a year for life, during a media briefing at a New Hampshire Motor Speedway Race Week kick-off event in Pembroke on Tuesday. Surrounding McIntyre are, from left, Gov. John Lynch, NASCAR driver and New Hampshire native Mike Olsen, Tracy Caruso and Mike Morin of WZID radio and Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of NHMS. (LARISSA MULKERN/Union Leader Correspondent)

LOUDON —Five hearts will be racing along with the cars at Sunday's NASCAR Sylvania 300 Sprint Car Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Those hearts belong to five New Hampshire Lottery finalists competing live for a chance to win $100,000 a year — for life.

The finalists, who became eligible by winning $1,000 each on the NH Lottery's Set For Life game $20 scratch ticket, include Gerard Cook of Derry, Scott Minor of Gilford, Trudi Powell of Newport, Amanda Tetlow of Lincoln and Michael Marinaro of Portland, Maine.

At the drawing on Sunday, to be held before the race begins, contestants will choose from five large envelopes, according to lottery officials. Four of the envelopes will include a prize amount, and live, on stage, all five finalists will reveal what they have won. But everyone wins a chunk of cash: the total cash prizes are $25,000, $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000. The fifth person will go on to the final contest and take a chance at winning $100,000 a year for life, a lump sum payment of $500,000 or a lump sum payment of $250,000.

Contestant Gerard “Jerry” Cook of Derry, sounded calm over the phone on Wednesday.

“We haven't allowed ourselves to think much about it beyond winning the $25,000,” said Cook, whose wife, Marie, daughter, son and grandchildren will accompany him to the speedway on Sunday.

Cook said he bought the $20 Set for Life scratch ticket two or three months ago. And when he scratched and saw that he had won $1,000, the reaction was natural.

Cook is a retired truck driver for Garelick Farms who used to commute to Boston from Derry daily for work. His wife, Marie, still does the hour or so commute. Purchasing an upgraded car — no model picked out yet — is on the shopping list in 2013 if they win the $25,000, which is the least someone will win.

At the NHMS Kick Off event on Tuesday, Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, announced the Set For Life finalists contest to be held Sunday. A second drawing will be held at a future date and place to compete for either the $100,000 for life, for a minimum of 20 years, or lump sum payments of $250,000 or $500,000.

Sunday's drawing will be held from 1:08 to 1:18 p.m. at the Center Stage at the Speedway.

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Larissa Mulkern may be reached at

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