(Press Release from New Hampshire Motor Speedway)
Sunday’s 5-hour ENERGY 301 isn’t just a NASCAR race, it is a happening, designed to send everybody’s adrenaline into maximum overdrive. This weekend, no one will be disappointed with a plethora of action on and off the track.
Stargazing will be redefined as the speedway celebrates its 25th anniversary with NASCAR. New Hampshire’s own Adam Sandler will serve as the Grand Marshal, kicking off a great race just as he drops the green flag for his newest movie, “Pixels”, coming out next week. Former Red Sox All-Star Rico Petrocelli will give the invocation before the race, and Rob Ninkovich, a defensive lineman for the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, will climb behind the wheel of the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car to lead the field to the Granite Stripe on Sunday afternoon.
“Our top priority, as it has been since we opened 25 years ago, is to put on a memorable and exciting event for the fans,” explains Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of NHMS. “The drivers and crews will take care of all of the on-track excitement, but our team works hard to make sure people look at our event schedule and realize they have to be here this weekend – for all of the entertainment we provide.”
A revamped Fan Zone will be the place to be when fans aren’t in their seats. Located just outside Turn 2 of the speedway and across from the infield tunnel, it’s the perfect way to take the race day experience to the next level as it’s full of freebies, fun and non-stop entertainment. Amenities include the NHMS Fan Tent, where guests can pick up their ticket incentives, as well as see the amazing 25th Anniversary Timeline, showing off the speedway’s history of unforgettable moments.
There will also be children’s entertainment, including balloon and caricature artists, wildlife encounters, face painters, and Elsa and Anna from Disney’s “Frozen”; the Miller Lite Lobster Lounge is the place to be for music and seafood; the SMI Fan Stage is nonstop with driver interviews and live entertainment; there’s a zip-line and Ferris wheel, a climbing wall and slide; and go-karts and bumper cars that give this area an amusement park feel for fans, friends and family alike. And don’t forget to check out the Winner’s Walkway, where fans can see banners of all the Sprint Cup Series winners throughout the years.
The pre-race entertainment will be lively and will get people out of their seats, when they rock out to the popular music of Bret Michaels, former lead singer of Poison, who will rev up the crowd with a free concert before the race begins. And fans will want keep their eyes on the skies when Team Fastrax – parachute jumpers, who have proudly served our nation’s military – arrive from high altitude with the official green flag to start the 5-hour ENERGY 301.
When the focus shifts to the track, many will turn to honor a Sprint Cup racing legend, who is in his final year behind the wheel. Jeff Gordon is in his last season piloting the No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports as he prepares for retirement at the end of 2015. Gordon, a four-time Sprint Cup champion, is a three-time NHMS winner and is always an odds-on favorite to do well in Loudon. Should he sweep both races this season, he will be the Magic Mile’s all-time winningest Cup driver.
And for those who like local, New Hampshire’s own Eddie MacDonald will make his second ever Sprint Cup start behind the wheel of the No. 32 Draft Demons car. MacDonald has had plenty of trips to Sunoco Victory Lane in other racing leagues, and he is hoping to steal the spotlight and hold up the 20-plus pound Loudon the Lobster after 301 grueling miles.
“Whether you are a devoted Sprint Cup follower or a casual fan, this weekend will offer excitement to everyone,” says Gappens. “The Silver Anniversary is an important milestone for this speedway, and we are proud of our long relationship with NASCAR racing in New England. We are throwing a celebration that honors 25 years together.”
Tickets are available for all three days of racing at NHMS and can be purchased online at NHMS.com, by phone at 603-783-4931 or at any trackside ticket gate. A complete listing of activities and schedule of events is available at www.nhms.com.