Well, it is officially winter already, which means that soon, hopefully, you will be seeing a lot of snow, ice and cold weather. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend your time inside cooped up inside with no distractions. There are plenty of winter sports you can indulge in, including skiing, snowboarding and skating, which have been around for centuries and have certainly not lost their charm. But, if you are looking to have some fun and excitement during the winter months, then there is another option: speedway racing. Loudon Speedway is located in Loudon, New Hampshire, which is famous for its apple orchards and quaint colonial villages. The track boasts one of the most historic racing venues in America, and it is home to the International Rock Paper Scissors league. So, if you are looking for some excitement and are willing to venture north to New Hampshire, then you can bet that this option will have you wanting to come back for more. Here is a quick guide to help you make the most of your time at Loudon Speedway and get the most out of this winter break.
Where Is It Located?
Loudon Speedway is located in Loudon, New Hampshire, which is actually in the neighboring state of Massachusetts. But, it is part of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway family of tracks, so all your Massachusetts Bay State drivers’ licenses are accepted there. It is the largest track in New England, with a capacity of 50,000 people and hundreds of acres of land. According to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway website, the track opened in the summer of 1922 and was originally designed by automotive pioneer Carl G. Benedict. The grandstands were originally built in 1916 and were expanded in 1931. Since then, the track has held several memorable racing events, including the 1973 and 1974 NASCAR Grand National wins by Dave Marcis and Donnie Allison, as well as George Gretzky’s 50th birthday party. The track’s signature race is the New Hampshire Senior Circuit race, which is an annual invitational that features some of the greatest drivers in the world. It is named after the famous automobile race that was first held there in 1924 and continues to be held every year.
When Is It Open?
Loudon Speedway is open all year round, 365 days a year, and is open every day from sunrise to sunset. There are no specific dates when the track is closed, so you will always have somewhere to go, even if it’s snowing, sleeting or cold out. Plus, you can take a look at the calendar and see that there are still quite a few days ahead. The only thing that closes the track are the occasional snowstorms and wintery weather conditions. So, if you can handle the weather and don’t mind getting your feet wet, then you can take part in one of America’s greatest sporting events anytime you please.
How Do I Get There?
If you are flying into the Manchester Airport, then the easiest way to get to New Hampshire is by taking the 101 N connector from the airport. This will bring you directly to the largest urban area in New England, where you can spend the night before continuing on to Loudon the next morning. Alternatively, you can take the Taconic Parkway or the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) from the airport, which will bring you to the Southern Massachusetts town of Bedford. From there, it’s only a 40-minute drive to reach the gates of New Hampshire and Loudon Speedway. If you are coming from Boston or another New England city, you can also reach the track by taking the Amtrak train from the South Station in Boston, as they stop at Loudon. There will also be regular bus service from the airport to the train station in Boston, as well as the stop in Bedford. Plus, there are always taxis available at the airport should you prefer not to drive. So, no matter what mode of transportation you use, it will be an easy and convenient ride to reach the track.
Is There Free Parking?
Unfortunately, there is no free parking at Loudon Speedway. But, there is a lot of street parking available near the entrance if you arrive early enough. Once you get in line, there will be a valet parking attendant who will drive your car to one of the many garages scattered around the track. So, make sure you have a designated driver or a sober companion to take you home after the race, as well as someone to walk you to your car. There is also a lot of available public transport nearby if you are planning on taking a bus or cab back to the airport after the race.
What Amenities Does It Offer?
Now, this is something you may or may not want to pay for, as it depends on your level of spending. The basic amenities at Loudon Speedway include the grandstands and terrace, which are available to all ticket holders. These are the two largest structures on the track and can hold up to 10,000 people. They are surrounded by an array of food vendors and shops, as well as a beer garden. There is also a small chapel inside the main grandstand. This can be used by patrons for any religious services they may need during the race, or just for fellowship. Inside these historical buildings, you will find numerous cozy nooks and crannies that offer visitors some well-deserved peace during a race. When entering the grandstand, you will also see a bank of elevators that will take you to the various levels, depending on your ticket type. These elevators are rarely used nowadays as stairways have been designated for the exclusive use of handicapped patrons. Besides, many of the hotels near the airport have become wheelchair-accessible, so finding a place to stay should not be a problem for anyone.
What Is The Atmosphere Like?
If you have never been to a NASCAR race before, then this may be the best opportunity to indulge in some of America’s greatest pastimes. Since the track opens in the summer and stays open all year round, it gets quite warm inside the grandstands. The temperature can reach up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, even on a chilly day. So, bring some extra layers to battle the chilliness. On a more positive note, the air is thick with the aroma of popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy, wafting from the various concession stands. Spectators are also treated to a spectacular view of the action, as there are no glass walls anywhere near the track. So, even if you are sitting next to one of the best-known NASCAR drivers, you will never feel like you are missing out on a thing. This is in stark contrast to other venues, where you may be trapped behind glass, missing out on all the action. Plus, the sun is at its peak at around 10:00 a.m., so early morning and evening games are best, if you want to be able to see everything clearly.
Is It Easy To Get To And From?
Getting to and from the track is very easy, considering that you are in the largest urban area in New England. The average drive from the airport will take you about 45 minutes. So, you don’t have to worry about missing your flight due to traffic jams or bad weather. Plus, there is an Amtrak stop right next to the track, should you be traveling by train. The New England Division of the Metro Area Code Team (MACET) runs a shuttle bus service from the airport to the train station and tracks, as well as another bus directly to the grandstands from the train station. These buses operate on a regular basis throughout the year and are easily identifiable by their green and yellow paint jobs. All you need to do is look out for them when you are planning on traveling to New Hampshire.
What About Accessibility?
Loudon Speedway is a great option for people with disabilities as much as it is for those who are able-bodied. The track is fully accessible and paved in asphalt, and the grandstands have been designated special-purpose structures for people with disabilities, as they have ramps leading to all seating areas. It is suitable for everyone, as long as you abide by the rules and regulations.
So, now you know what to expect, if you choose to visit New Hampshire and its largest track, Loudon Speedway. The winter months may not be the most convenient for your schedule, but that’s what makes it all the more exciting. There will always be somewhere for you to go during the winter, as long as you do not mind getting your feet wet, and it is quite likely that you will have a ball. Make sure to pack your running shoes and lots of layers, as the temperature can take a sharp turn, and you will be glad you did. If you are looking for some excitement, then you can bet that you will not be disappointed at Loudon Speedway. No matter if you are there for a day or a week, the track will always have something to offer.