LOUDON — For the first time in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s history, 10 families were given the opportunity to reserve campground spaces on the very edge of the track’s infield, across from pit row and next to the drivers’ campers during this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301.
Although the prime camper real estate came with the hefty price tag of $2,700, NHMS communications director Kristen Lestock said fans’ intense interest in the camping spots led to them all being reserved less than a month after first being offered.
One of those spots was snapped up by the Medeiros family of Freetown, Mass.
While the new location represented a big up-charge from the $700 the family traditionally pays to set up their RV on the grassy hill overlooking the track, Stephen and Holly Medeiros said it’s worth every penny to feel a deeper connection to the race they’ve attended for the last 20 years.
“It’s all in the experience,” Stephen Medeiros said. Comparing race weekend to attending a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium, he said the ability to be right in the middle of all the NASCAR action is an experience unlike any other sporting event.
“Here, being here for the week, we get to see them setting up pit row, painting lines and watching it all come together. All that stuff kind of adds up to me being more willing to spend money and makes me feel more connected to the sport,” Medeiros said.
It’s close encounters like those that he hopes will make lifelong race fans out of the couple’s twin 7-year-old boys, Blake and Anthony. The two attended their first NHMS race in 2011, when they were just one month old.
“We were not missing that race,” Holly Medeiros said of her sons’ first NASCAR experience, adding that the twins consider their yearly treks to Loudon as a chance to let loose and be themselves.
“They have the freedom to be kids when they’re here. Most of the time back home I’m telling them, ‘Don’t do this’ or, ‘Don’t do that,’” she said. “But here they can be kids, they can run around. This neighbor is giving them free Popsicles and that neighbor is giving them a dollar here or a dollar there for helping out with chores. They can just be kids.”
Lestock said the speedway first tested out the infield camping locations during last September’s Full Throttle Fall Weekend of short-track racing, and its popularity convinced officials to make it available during the Cup Series as well. “What we’ve heard from our fans over the years is that they always want to get close to the action and to the drivers,” Lestock said.