Thoughts on New Hampshire losing a race

In the brief time since it was made official this afternoon that New Hampshire Motor Speedway is losing its September race to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2018, I’ve seen plenty of NASCAR fans grumbling on Twitter about the loss of a short track and the addition of another cookie cutter 1.5-mile track.

Usually I’d be right there with them (More short tracks!!!) but not in the case of New Hampshire. The truth is NHMS is not a very exciting track for stock cars.

When is the last great NHMS Cup race you’ve seen? I asked myself that as well, and I can’t remember one. The common refrain during New Hampshire weekend is the Modified race is the best event at the track, and that’s true — not only because it’s a good race, but because the Cup race is usually a bad one.

Last year, both New Hampshire races rated in the bottom seven points races of my weekly “Was it a good race?” Twitter poll. And that’s where they should have been, because they weren’t very good races.

Let’s just be honest here: As much as cookie cutter tracks are boring, Las Vegas had a better race than NHMS last year (71 percent of people liked that race as opposed to 50 percent and 48 percent for the two New Hampshire races, respectively). If you want to call NHMS a short track because it’s only 1 mile, then I guess that’s fine — but it certainly doesn’t race like one.

Plus, it’s not like NASCAR isn’t going there at all anymore — just one less time. Seriously, did NASCAR really need to visit New Hampshire twice in 10 weeks every year? I don’t think so.

Look, it would suck if this was going to add another 1.5-mile track to the playoffs and the overall schedule, but it’s not. As Nate Ryan reported yesterday, they’re likely going to take the Charlotte fall race and run it on the infield road course.

So what is NASCAR really trading here? The actual swap is a ho-hum flat track race in exchange for a road race — in the playoffs!

What’s so wrong with that?

40 Replies to “Thoughts on New Hampshire losing a race”

  1. I just wish that instead of giving Vegas a 2nd race, they’d have given another track a first race. Like Iowa.

    1. Iowa is not ready for a Cup race. Infrastructure issues need to be addressed. Maybe someday but more highway access from several directions and more parking is needed first.

  2. I live 15 miles from the track and sad right now. Vegas does deserve another date, but it may end up like Texas, fighting for a date and then the novelty wears off in a few years. Like any hard core fan, I hate losing a race weekend where I get to sleep in my own bed at night, but after swallowing that bitter pill, I believe it would have been better to lose the July weekend where it’s dealing with sitting in 90 degree weather in metal grandstands. When was the last exciting race? As a race fan the answer is always the same, the last one I was at, whether or not it seemed exciting to someone who gets to go to all as a job or watches crappy TV coverage.
    The Charlotte road course, while I never seen it run myself could be interesting, just like a flat track and not another 25 something degree banked 1.5 mile oval. For a road course, go with purpose built Laguna Seka instead of a makeshift one.
    OK, I feel a little better now after venting.

  3. If I was a New Hampshire race fan ,I would tell them to go to Hell and skip both races in 2017,Hit them where it hurts Pocket book They don’t care about their fans only almighty $$$$$$$$$$$$$

    1. If you did that then they would look to move the other NHMS date. It wouldn’t work the way you want it to.

      1. I have and wish every ture race fan would not go to the tracks anymore. I could care less if they take both from NH
        . As for road course racing to me is even more boring the 1.5 mile tracks.

    2. I totally agree! I live 6 miles from NHMS! I have been going there for years it’s not the best track for sure but for true N ew England fans it’s all we have. Everyone up here has asked for more banking and make the July race a night one I can guarantee everyone would come. That would make more exciting racing and a cooler July. Why not make a small investment in something that has the potential to be great. Nothing has been done. So once again they take a race away from a track that has potential and sends it somewhere else so they can make the $$$$. We (New England) have supported this track for years!! Thanks for nothing!! NASCAR has ruined this sport and this latest decision has lost another die hard fan!!

      1. Being owned by Brutin Smith which the Barre family sold out to he fought so hard to get second race if he has a heart for the deticated fans that have continued there support over the yrs the best thing he can do down size to a 3/4 highbank n put lights I have seen thru the past few yrs lots of empty seats

    1. Lotta diehards at the track both races, that come from far away! But the moneymakers…opps losers, don’t care. So obvious!

  4. Vegas dollars rule! It’s all about the almighty dollar.
    Nascar is needing and apparently getting a fan with above average income.

  5. I told Jeff this already, but as the resident New Hampshire fan in the room…Jeff’s right. NHMS isn’t an action track. It’s not really a short track (it’s over a mile, technically it’s a superspeedway if we want to be pedantic). It’s a track where more wins have been decided by fuel mileage than by late-race heroics.

    NHMS is a compromise track, a flat oval built to satisfy both stock cars and IndyCars. The former struggle on the outside grooves in the turns. The latter went away after ’98, came back for a one-off in 2011, and rain kept walk-up sales low enough that they weren’t inspired to try it again. The best race of the weekend is usually the Modified race, and that’s a testament to really wide tires and restrictor plates.

    I love it. Call it pride, call it Stockholm syndrome, but I’ve been going there in some capacity since 1995 and I’ll keep going as long as we can keep a race there. I’ve come to enjoy meandering about the grounds on a crisp fall day, or “tailgating” out of the back of a minivan (liftgating?) on the hotter July weekends. I’ve learned to enjoy the late-race fuel mileage drama and the glimmers of exciting racing that pop up as tires start to wear.

    But sometimes love of the track isn’t enough.

    Even if Vegas gets a little racy with the low-downforce package, and even if the Charlotte roval plays out well, I won’t consider them a fair trade. I won’t get to fly to Vegas or Charlotte. But that’s all collateral damage. There’s a bigger game afoot here, and a 300-lap flat-track race isn’t selling that bigger game.

    If anything, this should inspire NE fans to make damn sure they buy tickets to the July race and the support races, because there are plenty of other tracks with a sales pitch for a date in July, too.

  6. I believe that since 2013 when the brought out the Gen 6 car, this is the best move NASCAR has made. And by that I mean the road course at Charlotte and switching the Chase up a bit. Instead of tweaking the Chase and making dumb moves, this is the type of move that gets people going and thinking in a more positive way towards NASCAR. I also hope that race at Charlotte is run under the lights.

  7. I’m fine with the switch of the Cup race, good decision. I’m not fine with taking the xfinity race away from Ky. Sorry, but that sucks! It was a stall alone race, which means no Cup drivers, and I have gone to Ky. every year for that race weekend. So, now what happens to the fall weekend at Ky.? We had an ARCA race on Fri., the xfinity on Sat. NOT VERY HAPPY ABOUT THIS! The track is just an hour away from my driveway, and now I am being robbed of a race! Better come up with an alternative plan! I know, it’s all about the money, the hell with the actual race fans!

  8. When was the last exciting Cup race ANYWHERE? (plate tracks being the exception) I understand the economics. Its just a tremendous blow to my home state financially.

  9. I think that us north east race fans need to sell out the race in July so we don’t lose that one to it only makes perfect business sense to do what Bruton and Marcus smith have done nobody would give up 25 million dollars!!! Marc

  10. Why do people always dump on NASCAR? This is on Bruton & Marcus Smith. It’s their tracks and their decision. Of course NASCAR has to give the approval but they Smith’s are the ones who decide which track they want to have more races. Take Kentucky vs Atlanta

  11. Hi Jeff. Never would have agreed until I read your article. I love short track racing, and you certainly made sense. Thanks

  12. NHMS might not deserve two dates, but neither does Las Vegas. Nor does any other race on the schedule besides Daytona, Talladega, Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond, and Charlotte (which also should lose a race out of their 3).

    NASCAR, SMI, ISC do not know how to properly make a schedule that is unique and balanced among the Chase and the Regular Season. NASCAR has really dropped the ball with not going to international markets (Mexico City, Montreal or Toronto).

    Also, losing a standalone race is terrible for the fans.

  13. Sad, New Hampshire has a lot of pride, very faithful fan base from the other states! Me and mine from CT. We always used the race as a trip for other activities, both races. Middle America getting screwed again by the likes of NASCAR! Like LAS VEGAS warrants it??? Whores. NEW HAMPSHIRE is like other NASCAR track, not a barn burner, but what NASCAR race HAS BEEN IN SOME TIME? Please tell me! Sad

  14. Hey Jeff- Is there any substance to the rumor I heard on the “Door, Bumper, Clear” podcast where Brett Griffin said he thought the deal was going to be that Las Vegas would eventually become one of maybe four rotating track locations for the Monster Energy Cup playoff finale?

    This entire Las Vegas getting a Fall date thing begins to make a lot more sense if that rumor has any legs. Heard anything like this elsewhere?

    1. The rumor of Vegas being the closing race followed by the banquet has been out there since they moved the banquet several years ago

  15. Not happy that Vegas is the track getting a 2nd date, but happy that they took said date from NH. I honestly wouldn’t consider NH a short track, even though it is smaller than most. Slow, flat corners and very little action, other than the obligatory fuel mileage scenarios that are inevitable at that track. If I was a fan of NH, I wouldn’t be too worried about losing the 2nd date though (even though I would love to dump it in favor of Iowa). SMI isn’t going to take both races from one of their properties.

  16. North Wilkesboro was taken from us for the abominations that are New Hampshire and Texas. The move to Vegas from NH (and Kentucky) are mere technicalities of a bad decision years ago.

    1. Bingo!!! this date that is going to Vegas was North Wilkesboro’s that Loudon bought away. Fans of NHMS need to remember that. They initially took someone else’s date.

    2. My thoughts exactly. They can enjoy a taste of their own medicine, albeit a half dose.

  17. Jeff, you make it sound like Vegas has more exciting racing than NHMS. If that were the case, your thoughts might have more merit. But Vegas is just another cookie cutter type track with boring racing, which the schedule is overly full of. At least NH was a different style track where the driver actually makes a difference.

    Its just another example of Nascar & the Smiths selling out its core fans (there are a lot of loyal fans, or should I say former now? in NE) for the almighty dollar.

    This won’t stop here. Now that they have a 2nd date, they will push even further for the season finale. Good luck with that one though. Homestead is owned by the France’s and won’t want to give away that cash cow to Smith & Co.

    I find it interesting that they seem to assume that people will come for a 2nd date. Yeah, It worked well for Auto Club Speedway didn’t it?

  18. A few quick thoughts on North Wilkesboro and Iowa: Most fans you talk to would say that leaving North Wilkesboro was a mistake and would like to go back, just as they say they want a race at Iowa. Here’s where NASCAR has it dead wrong, and is also delusional about the state of their sport. The reason they gave us for leaving North Wilkesboro is that NASCAR had “outgrown” the track, and yes maybe this was true 20 years ago. Almost the same reason is given for not having a cup race at Iowa; they say the fan areas are too small and the track would have to be renovated to host a cup race. Really NASCAR? If grandstand tv presentation is what you are after (and it appears they are), these tracks would be the perfect size right now to host a cup event. Pack the grandstands (quite honestly I’m not sure you still can, but by all means prove me wrong), and give the casual tv audience the illusion that this sport still has people fighting for tickets. If you want to spice up the schedule, there are two very clear and simple ways to do just that. Give Iowa a date, even if it is a short track style mid-week show. On the more expensive side, buy North Wilkesboro as a Nascar property and renovate it, but not too much, and watch these two events quickly become some of the most popular of the season.

  19. My objection isn’t really about the racing product, though as a purist I enjoy the challenge a flat track like NHMS provides the drivers. Does it always put on a good show? No, but most drivers will tell you it’s one of the most challenging layouts on the circuit. Las Vegas doesn’t have a great track record of exciting races either, it would certainly fall near the bottom of the 1.5 milers if I was ranking them based on on-track product. My objection here is that the fans of New England and Canada deserve better than this. I grew up going to NHMS, I’ve been to nearly every track NASCAR visits and I still put the fans and atmosphere at NHMS near the top. No track sees the crowds today that they saw in the late 90s heyday, but NHMS has remained among the more reliable crowds even in the toughest of economic times. The campgrounds are always full of great race fans, including TONS from Quebec and other eastern Canadian provinces. Will these folks still get a chance to come once a year? Sure. But they lost the better of the two dates. Since the first NH race was moved back to July the weather has become an issue nearly every year. The last handful of years have been 90 plus degrees with high humidity and as someone who has camped and sat in the grandstands in those conditions, it completely takes the fun out of it. I personally know about a dozen people who regularly attend both races who were planning on giving up their July tickets or had already done so because the September weekend is just more comfortable and fun. Look, I think it would be great if all tracks only had one race (with very few exceptions), I just hate that the awesome race fans at NHMS are the losers in this purely business decision.

    1. Kyle-as someone who is not a a fan of racing at NH, I must say that I agree with your statement about the fans and the crowd sizes. It is refreshing to see packed grandstands on any tv broadcast, and NH is one of the few tracks that can deliver this anymore. So yes, you do deserve better, you deserve a better track. Right now, NH is basically a big Martinsville with a lot less action. Would be interesting to see what would happen if they put a bit of banking in the turns.

    2. I live in ny 3 hours each to pocono New Hampshire and Watkins glen. I will not go to the glen, it’s great on tv but in person you can’t see much. Same deal with pocono. As for New Hampshire I won’t go to the July race as it’s to hot. I’ve gone to the sept race twice and may go to the fall race this year to say goodbye to the track. The next closest track is Dover 6 hours each way, wich means two nights at a hotel, and extra gas. I’ve been to martinsville and am going to Bristol in a month but both are 12 hrs each way so as much as I love short tracks I can’t afford to go that far for a race every year. If there was a short track cup race within 4 hours from me I’d bye season tickets now. That said I don’t think NH is that good of a track but it beats any mile and a half. The only mile and a half I think promotes a good race year in and year out is darlington and that’s a little smaller 1.36 if I rember right. Kansas and homestead are ok. I feel all the other 1.5 tracks suck to be quite honest. NASCAR needs more diverse tracks so the good teams can’t just focus on dominating the 1.5s to win the championship. I think the season ending race should vary season to season and not even be announced until the chase starts. Maby give a list of 4-5 tracks that the season may end at and say wich the day of the Chicago race. Or pick a random track out of a hat that day.

  20. We’ve been season ticketholders to NHMS since before they were awarded one cup race. This is a kick in the face. I understand follow the money and all that- but the September race at least had the excitement of it being a chase race, and the drivers actually raced. The races at Loudon are mediocre at best and leaving the most boring of the two does not make sense. Not to mention it’s is too damn hot sitting there in July baking in aluminum seats. We’re seriously talking of dropping our July seats as well and using that ticket money, camping money, travel money….to travel on to other tracks. And not one that belongs to Bruton Smith. Don’t see how NHMS can survive this kick in the teeth. Hey – maybe he has someone all lined up to buy that aging facility for something other than NASCAR.

  21. If you are taking one NHMS race, then they should give the race to a new track such as Nashville Super Speedway!!! They already have the required infrastructure. Great track!

  22. ISC / SMI Pocono & Dover needs to sit down.We want a complete calendar change. The Rock-North Wilsboro amazing racing but all within the Charlotte Motor Speedway market.

    They wanted to go national major market for sponsor & tv revenue Texas-New Hampshire-Chicagoland & more. Why going twice to certain market when the stand are empty. There ‘s only 4 owners of racing facilities on the Nascar calendar.Do joint venture & use other racing venue find a solution to offer racing were people are willing to go.Create a new business model to keep your fanbase.

    The playoff tracks order should change every year even the season finale!

    I’ve been going to NHMS fall race,because July in Loudon or Indy don’t make sense. I love shorttrack & road racing & superspeedway. I’ve been to many Nascar tracks, on my way back from last fall race i knew it was over,stands were not pack there was no more fanzone they put fanatics megastore in the fanzone.We had no wait to exit the parking…. no title sponsor for the race….

    There will be one race left at the Magic Mile #NHburn301,the july cooker.

    I think the chase racing at NHMS was good,it will never be North Wilkesboro Speedway.We will go back to the Monster Mile & Martinsville.

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