Competitors on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regularly call their events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, their Daytona 500. Twice a year that is.
A day after the announcement that New Hampshire Motor Speedway would lose one of its two NASCAR Monster Energy Cup events, track executive vice president and general manager Dave McGrath sounded optimistic that the Whelen Modified Tour will continue to compete at the track multiple times each year.
“Nothing is off the table,” McGrath said. “… We are already exploring a short track weekend in September and that certainly could be other things as well.”
The Whelen Modified Tour competes as part of each Monster Energy Cup weekend at the track. For many around the series, the assumption was that the loss of the September Monster Energy Cup weekend at the Loudon, N.H. facility would likely mean only one event a year for the Whelen Modified Tour at the track.
On Wednesday Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials announced that they would be adding a second NASCAR Monster Energy Cup event to their schedule for the 2018 season and that event would be transferring from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns both New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motors Speedway. SMI purchased New Hampshire Motor Speedway from track founder Bob Bahre in November 2007.
“We are already exploring ways to bring short track racing, keep our Modified race, work with our American Canadian Tour promoters that promote those two events at our speedway in September, and create a great short track weekend,” McGrath said in a press conference Thursday at the track. “That’s certainly something we’re already discussing.”
McGrathy opened the press conference with a prepared statement saying: “Although our schedule may be changing, the entire staff at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is more committed than ever before to bring the very best in motorsports entertainment to the New England area. We’ll focus on making our July NASCAR race week even bigger and better, showcasing the incredible vacation destination that the speedway and the Granite State offers fans each summer. Our annual schedule will continue to provide the widest range of motorsports entertainment found anywhere in the Northeast. This creates new opportunities for us to explore events such as music festivals, winter events and much more.”
McGrath, who is his second year as the general manager after replacing Jerry Gappens in late 2015, continued an optimistic tone through questions Thursday.
“Change is tough,” McGrath said. “I don’t make any bones about it. But this a change that I know this team and this company is up for.
“Motorsports will continue to be the main thrust of our business, but certainly other events that we’ll look at. … Don’t forget, we still have a July race. It’s going to be here for a long time. We will work as a team to make that race bigger and better than it’s ever been. But more importantly, we are not going to stop there. We are going to find new things to bring to this property. … We won’t stop.”