Hemmings.com reports that New Hampshire Motor Speedway is “one of the most popular motorsports venues in the country,” and with good reason – it’s got all the essentials for drivers and their buddies to have a good time.
The racetrack is actually located in Loudon, New Hampshire, which is close to the Massachusetts border. This year, NHMS is celebrating its 70th anniversary – which makes it one of the older sports venues in the United States. But don’t let that fool you; this track is still going strong.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to know before going there.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and to celebrate, they’ve got a big bash planned. The festivities will be held on April 18-19 and will include a vintage races, a concert, and a fireworks display.
The actual track is located in Loudon, New Hampshire, which is close to the Massachusetts border. The track measures a modest 4.9 miles long, and it features two parallel rows of concrete grandstands. About 2.5 million people visit the track each year; it is one of the oldest motorsports venues in the country, having first opened its gates in 1946.
Unfortunately, the track’s glory days are long over. Although it still hosts some races, it hasn’t done so for many years. But that doesn’t mean that the venue isn’t still worth a visit – especially since this year’s anniversary events are planned. If you’re an American motorsport fan, then this is certainly one place you need to visit.
There are two ways to get to New Hampshire Motor Speedway – you can either fly in or drive. The speedway is located in Loudon, about 26 miles from the Massachusetts border, so if you’re driving, you’ll want to head north on Interstate 93. Exit 28 will bring you to the entrance to the racetrack. Once you’re inside the gates, you’ll see an information booth to the right, and beyond that is the paddock area where the racing teams are assembled before each event.
Alternatively, you can fly into Boston, and from there, take the 91 North to the Connecticut border. From there, take Route 1 east for 25 miles to Route 112. Then, take a left on Route 112 and go 9 miles to the New Hampshire border. Exit 28 will bring you to the entrance to the racetrack. The trip takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic.
One of the most frustrating things about going to a sports venue is trying to find a place to park. At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, that’s not an issue – there are ample spots for cars and trucks. There’s even a small parking garage attached to the venue, which has a capacity of around 80 vehicles. Rental services are also available at the track, and valet parking is free for track day participants.
If you have a bad experience parking at any other venue, don’t worry – it’s nothing personal against NHMS, but rather the result of an overcrowding problem. This year, they’ve invested heavily in additional parking spots, reconfigured the lots, and added more visible signage. With limited parking, it’s always wise to arrive early and find a good parking spot.
Attendees & Demeanor
Approximately 2.5 million people visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway every year, which makes it one of the most popular motorsports venues in the country. The bulk of the attendees are from New England – particularly from Massachusetts, which is just across the border from NHMS. The fans here are very passionate about motorsports and keep alive the tradition established by the great Walt Douglas and Billy Peters in the 1940s. The fans are also known to be among the loudest in the country, which can be a good thing, depending on how you feel about that kind of thing.
From what I hear, New Englanders are pretty nice people. They’re also known for their hospitality, so you’re sure to have a good time no matter where you go.
If you’re hungry after your long day at the track, there are several options available. You can eat what the locals are having, which is mostly lobster food. For those not into seafood, there are several restaurants inside the track’s gates that serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your best bet is to make a food plan before you go – if you’re visiting during the off-season, then make sure you have your pick of restaurants in mind.
One of the things that make New Hampshire Motor Speedway special is the entertainment. The track is home to the Northeastern University Billies, a.k.a. the Billiken Track Rats. This is the university’s varsity rugby team that wears colorful costumes and acts as a parody of the typical college sports fans. Sadly, the Rats aren’t as funny as they think they are, because most of their material is based on stereotypes and isn’t very witty.
More serious entertainment is provided by the New Hampshire Brahman Horse Society’s Parade of Champions, where the state’s best bred horses will be on display. Also, the International Tennis Hall of Fame will be holding some of its signature events at the track this year, including the Hall of Fame Tennis Classic, the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Championship, and the Jimmy Connors Junior Tennis Championship. The NHHS itself is also holding some events there, including the Apple Blossom Festival and the Country Club Fair.
As for other special events this year, the 70th anniversary of New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be commemorated with a vintage races on April 18 and a concert on April 19. The fireworks display on Saturday night will also be a part of the festivities.
So, what are you waiting for? You can’t make a trip to New England without going to New Hampshire Motor Speedway – it’s practically in the state’s DNA. Just make sure you get a good parking spot and line up early for the concert, because the best seats at the park are often gone by the time the show starts.