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Gov. Hassan goes for a smoky spin with NASCAR star Clint Bowyer
From left, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Clint Bowyer, New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan, and NHMS Exec. VP/GM Jerry Gappens pose for photos prior to Bowyer showing Governor Hassan how to do burnouts in the parking lot Thursday morning at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord. (JOSH GIBNEY/UNION LEADER)
"I've done burnouts, but never with a governor in the car," Bowyer said later. "I was a little bit nerved up. You meet people and you read people, and I was reading her and she didn't seem to be scared whatsoever. And I kept doing the burnout, and the car kept filling up with more smoke and more smoke, and then I couldn't see where I was going anymore. And I was looking over, and she's not nervous at all, and she was still having a blast."
"Clint's a great driver, so I was pretty comfortable, and it's a lot of fun," Hassan said after she climbed out of the No. 90 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Toyota. "And I'm very impressed with how much skill it obviously takes, and it was just really fun."
Bowyer and six other drivers — Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne — have locked down their spots in the Chase. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in pretty good shape, too.
He's won two of the last six Sylvania 300s, which played into his tour of Concord on Thursday.
After the burnouts with the governor, his next stop was at the Swenson Granite Works quarry on North State Street.
Bowyer won the first race at the track with the granite stripe in place that fall, and after the race knelt and kissed the granite, just as drivers have long kissed the bricks at the finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Swenson and the track folks had a surprise for Bowyer, too.
Hanging from a giant crane, over the 220-foot deep quarry, was a 7,500-pound piece of gray granite that had been inscribed, complete with an etching of his No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota, to commemorate Bowyer's two wins at NHMS.
Gappens planned to raffle off the rock for charity, but Bowyer was having none of it. He said he'd make a donation and keep it.
Soon it was off to the last stop of a rock tour on what Hassan had proclaimed "Rockin' with Clint Day." For the tour finale, Bowyer hit Evolution Rock & Fitness for a little indoor rock climbing with race fans.