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March 27. 2014 7:30PM

NHMS program designed to cultivate young race fans while giving back to schools

LOUDON — New Hampshire Motor Speedway has begun a program designed to attract young people to NASCAR racing while giving back to school systems that participate.

The just-announced Speedway for Kids program has already been joined by more than 60 schools in the state and a few schools in Maine and Massachusetts. It offers elementary, middle and high school students an opportunity to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 and/or the SYLVANIA 300 for free this year.

NHMS Communications Director Kristen Lestock said the new school ticket program is designed to attract children to experience NASCAR racing action in-person at the track. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from tickets sold to family members of participating students will go back to local schools.

The program is being offered to all public schools throughout New Hampshire, as well as special needs schools which focus on at-risk students of all backgrounds.

Schools are responding positively.

“This is a great opportunity for our students,” said Jessica Squier, director of development and community relations at The Birchtree Center in Newington, which helps children and youth with autism.

“Anything that makes it easier and more affordable for students and their families to try something new and to enjoy spending time together will benefit families living with autism. We appreciate this program and all that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway does to support local children.”

Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway, says the primary purpose of the program is to attract coming generations of NASCAR fans.

“Fans are the lifeblood of NASCAR and our entire industry is committed to developing new fans,” said Gappens. “When I was kid growing up in the Midwest, my parents took me to races before I could walk. From attending the Indy 500 at the age of nine to weekly short tracks like the Kokomo Speedway in Indiana, this exciting sport made a huge impression on me and (made me) a fan forever.”

“Our goal is to make a fan for life. We are confident that with young drivers like Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson, and the total experience at the track, younger fans will find many reasons to get hooked on racing.”

In addition, Gappens said, “we appreciate the positive impact schools can make on our youth and all that our teachers do for our children, and this is our way of saying ‘thank you.’”

The free ticket voucher, which will be distributed to more 21,000 students throughout participating schools in New England, will also offer discounted tickets for parents and/or guardians who wish to attend either or both races with the student.

For each additional $25 ticket purchased, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will give one dollar back to all participating schools. The voucher is good for one free student ticket, with additional discounted tickets available for adults at $25 per race and children 12 and under at $12.50 per race.

dseufert@newstote.com


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