The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 will rev up on the 1.058-mile oval with seven degree banking at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. TNT will televise the event at 1 p.m. this Sunday.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is coming off a popular new event in Kentucky that was plagued by traffic woes.
One might think that having too many fans show up for a race would be a good problem to have, but the traffic debacle at Kentucky Speedway angered many fans.
NASCAR responded quickly with a statement from Chairman and CEO, Brian France.
"While NASCAR was thrilled by the incredible response to our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky,” France said. “We also are extremely disappointed by the traffic problems and inconveniences endured by fans.”
“NASCAR will be in close communications with Kentucky Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to see that they work to resolve the issues. This situation cannot happen again."
SMI President, Marcus Smith was quick to comment also.
“I would like to apologize on behalf of Speedway Motorsports to the fans who had tickets, yet due to logistical issues, were not able to attend the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway,” Smith said.
Kentucky Speedway was slower to apologize, but General Manager Mark Simendinger agreed with NASCAR.
"Kentucky Speedway apologizes for the traffic conditions surrounding the Quaker State 400,” Simendinger said. “We’re committed to working with NASCAR, state and local officials and traffic experts to assure that this never happens again.”
Fans who missed the race can exchange tickets for admission to other SMI events.
The ticket exchange is good for the following races: July 17 - New Hampshire, Aug. 27 - Bristol, Sept. 4 - Atlanta, Sept. 25 - New Hampshire, Oct. 15 - Charlotte, Nov. 6 - Texas and for 2012 - Kentucky Speedway.
Most NASCAR drivers deal with the speeding traffic of 42 other competitors on fast tracks and don’t have to negotiate gridlock on highways because they stay in coaches near or in venue infields.
The top drivers in points may miss traffic jams, but they don’t miss the preparation for the next race and beyond.
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com.
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
“Loudon is a pretty particular racetrack,” Busch said. “It’s tough. It’s not like Phoenix. It’s not like Dover at all. It’s a flat racetrack and it’s really typical of a tough racetrack to pass on. You can’t just have a really good race car and finish up front. You have to keep track position. You have to keep up all day and make everything work."
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford)
"New Hampshire is a big race for us,” Edwards said. “We’ve got two races this weekend, and we’ve got a ton of momentum in both series. The cars are fast and we’ve won in the Nationwide Series there and been close in Cup. We’re hoping to get a win in the Cup series, and this is a great test for the second race of the Chase in September. This race is one of the toughest in the Chase and it can make a huge difference in our championship efforts. This race is extremely important because we can apply what we learn and hopefully have a better showing in the Chase.”
Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet)
"I always look forward to going to New Hampshire,” Harvick said. “I like this type of track because it's flat, similar to the tracks out west where I started my racing career. There's a lot of braking. You have to really work on getting your car through the center of the corner and still have the forward bite you need up off the corner. It's one of those places where you have to get through the center of the corner and get up off the corner wide open. That makes it really hard to get through the center of the corner and turn good like you need to. Getting up off the corner under full power without getting loose is really tricky. Passing is harder there than at most places because it's so hard to make your car work getting up off the corner. That makes track position probably the most important thing at New Hampshire."
Kurt Busch (No. 22 Dodge)
“The summer stretch is here and we run all these tracks and none of them are in the Chase with the exception of New Hampshire,” Busch said. “New Hampshire is really important in that respect in that we’ll be coming back there during the Chase. I don’t think that you really pinpoint any of the upcoming races as a time when you just completely start focusing in on the points. It just sort of all blends in to where you hope that you’ve built up a cushion when it comes down to two or three (races) to go where you’re comfortable heading into the Chase.”
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
“New Hampshire was good to us last year,” Johnson said. “We’ve had this race circled (on calendar) for a while. We’ve got some things that we’ve felt that would work on a really flat track; short-track stuff with our set-ups. I know that (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) is excited to get up there and sort out some stuff and work on the car and I know that I am, as well. We had an awesome run at Kentucky and I’d love to build on that and go to victory lane.”
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR.
Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com