New Hampshire Motor Speedway Looks To Add Lights, Run July Sprint Cup Race At Night
New Hampshire Motor Speedway Exec VP & GM Jerry Gappens said that he "has been advocating for lights the past two years," but a five-year-old agreement between former track Owner Bob Bahre and the town of Loudon states that "racing must be through" by 7:30pm ET, according to Ray Duckler of the CONCORD MONITOR. NHMS is "one of four tracks" used during NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup that does not have lights. Loudon residents "have shied from the lights," despite the fact that "fans tell Gappens that they want them so the July race can run on a Saturday night, thus reducing heat and humidity, and the September race can have an insurance policy." Gappens said, "Look at what Monday Night Football did for the NFL. It opened it to new audiences. It would take the race to a new level, make it a spectacle." He added that he is "not worried about losing the Chase race." But Duckler notes with NASCAR's new TV deals with NBC and Fox that begin in '15, race officials "might make some changes to offer the best product possible." Gappens: "I can see NASCAR saying that with this investment, we need to get these races in. They may say we need lights" (CONCORD MONITOR, 9/23). Gappens said, "New Englanders don't like 90-95 degree heat and high humidity. And I’m seeing the (ticket) numbers reflect that in renewals for July." He added he is "in the process of trying to navigate through" Loudon's time restrictions for races. Gappens: "The town obviously doesn't want to re-open the lawsuit and have to defend itself. So we just have to navigate our way through … we have a couple of approaches that we are working on" (NASCAR.com, 9/21).