- On Saturday, May 26 I got one of the easier tracks available
to me, even if it did take 17 years to "git er done". When Bruce and
Pat Eckel contacted me about their trackchasing trip to New England,
a visit to the New Hampshire International Speedway road course was a
slam dunk for me. Not only did I not have this track, but it's only
a half hour from my house.
While waiting outside the gates for the Eckel's to arrive I
had an unexpected urge to eat quiche and drive a Miata! Little did I
realize that soon we would be watching an entire division of
After meeting up and exchanging greetings we plunked down our
$25 apiece to venture into the track. Today was a SCCA event for the
New England region of the club. The main grandstand was not open,
though the thought did cross my mind to go through the NHIS gift shop
and cruise out the other end to the stands. Fortunately we didn't do
that, as we would've missed out on what we did see. The price is a
little steep, but as this is not an event geared to spectators, and I
suspect that the SCCA is renting the track, it's probably in line for
insurance coverage, etc.
Upon entering the track we cruised through the infield
observing numerous teams scattered about preparing for the afternoon
races. There's definitely a family atmosphere here with spouse's
helping out and kids playing amongst themselves.
The NHIS road course is a 12 turn, 1.6 mile layout. It
utilizes portions of the oval and infield as well as going outside of
the oval. There are significant elevation changes on the outside
portion for being a combined oval/road course. The course starts at
the oval start/finish line, continues around turns 1 and 2 of the
oval before cutting slightly to the inside of the backstretch.
Halfway down the backstretch the cars hang a 90 degree right across
the track and up the hill. From there they loop around a 180 degree
turn, through some esses, and then back down the hill across the
backstretch. They then duck to the inside of turns 3 and 4 before
reentering the oval at the pit entrance.
After briefly cruising the infield we ventured to the outside
section, settling in by the 180 degree turn, a turn that I can only
describe as a "carousel". It's well banked with the cars coming down
hill into it, and uphill out of it into some ess turns. There is a
small set of bleachers outside of this turn that offers great
viewing, as well as being able to at least see the cars on the front
stretch and the flagman if you have really good eyes. It was
interesting how cars took various lines through the turn, and in the
sedan classes there was actually a little bit "rubbin" and some
The first race went off at the scheduled 1PM, it was a
multiple class sedan race. At first glance it actually looked like a
mini stock lineup for any area oval track. Mark Megolia took the win
in F production in a Volkswagen.
The next was a multi formula car race with Robert Laverly in
a formula C car winning. Some classes only have one car entered.
All class winners took a victory lap holding the checkered flag. The
formula V cars look very spindly with narrow bodies and narrow
Third race of the day was all Mazda Miata's won by Ken
Payson. This was the most entertaining race of the day with a full
field of cars closely matched. It was this race where the
aforementioned rubbing and contact occurred.
Before the fourth race we cruised back into the infield and
through the garage area. In what would normally house the NASCAR Cup
cars were the high dollar Porsches and Corvettes. There were also a
few stock car type racers that could pass for oval track stockers.
We picked out a spot by some small bleachers just as the cars
turn right across the backstretch. We couldn't really see too much,
but we were definitely close up to the action. It was again
interesting to see how each driver attacked the hard right and
continued up the hill to the outside portion of the track. Alan
Walker won the fourth race which was made up of formula cars.
The fifth race was again made up of Miata's and won by Willie
Casson. On the first lap contact was made as the cars raced out of
turn two and onto the backstretch, resulting in a few cars spinning
out. It looked a little like the start of the recent NASCAR all star
I believe the concession stand was open though I didn't try
anything. One thing about this type of racing is that the cars
aren't super loud like a V-8 oval stock car is, which along with gaps
of relative quiet when the cars on the other side of track makes it
easy to talk during the races. It was fun to compare notes with the
Eckel's and talk about all things racing.
While this race was going on Pat reminded Bruce it was
already after 3 pm and they needed to get going to their evening
track, Riverside Speedway in Groveton NH, lovingly referred to around
here as "Grovetona". After saying our goodbyes and already planning
for a winter ice racing assault I followed them up I-93 to my exit.
It was tempting to keep going, but the lure of my usual Saturday
night stop at White Mountain Motorsports Park, as well as half the
driving time was too great, so I didn't join them. As it was I saw a
good night of racing with Maine legend Mike Rowe winning the PASS
tour race over his son Ben.
All in all, a good day at the races.
- Now that I got everyone's attention, here is the list of countable 2007
National Speedway Directory tracks that are not (yet) on the lists of
any listed TrackChaser. We're doing a pretty good job of it, with just
43 of the USA tracks and 28 of the CAN tracks still on our collective
"to do" list:
AL--Talladega GP ?? (still not confirmed as countable)
CO--El Paso County
MO--Outlaws Retreat ??
TX--Amarillo Modified Midget
VA--Rolling Thunder ??
WA--Jackson Prairie paved
NS--Lake Doucette paved