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Volume 24 No. 132
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Weekend Plans With New Hampshire Motor Speedway Exec VP & GM David McGrath

New Hampshire Motor Speedway Exec VP & GM DAVID MCGRATH is set for a busy weekend, welcoming NASCAR to Loudon for Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup Series races at the SMI-owned track. For McGrath, who took over the GM role in October '15, the preparation for this weekend has been a race in itself and represents a culmination of his track's team effort. McGrath: "The beam of NASCAR focus is on New Hampshire Motor Speedway this week. The whole NASCAR world is here. To see our team respond to that is an absolute blast."

CALM BEFORE THE STORM: This week I’ve been making my way around the different departments and making sure everyone has what they need. We’re hitting all our marks and we're going to put on a great show. I like to give words of encouragement, keep people motivated. These are long days, but the energy builds up. It’s a massive undertaking with a NASCAR weekend with the production, fan zone and so many other moving parts. We had to get our infrastructure in line -- suites, TV, signage -- everything we have to ramp up. There's this very deep focus and energy throughout the speedway, and then on Monday, it’s gone and you have to catch your breath. This is our 27th year in operation and our 20th hosting two Cup races in a season. It is stressful, but in a good way. You don't want to let the fans or corporate partners down.

AND WE'RE OFF: Thursday night, we officially opened with Fan Fest. Friday morning started bright and early with a few radio interviews, then our kick-off breakfast with folks like SMI Exec Chair BRUTON SMITH, as well as drivers JIMMIE JOHNSON and DANIEL SUAREZ. Then it's time to get ready for the first practice for the Monster Energy Cup Series guys. Then we go right into the events. I make sure the pre-race is proper. I'll check in with our corporate sales team and then try to see some fans later in the afternoon/evening. Then we’ll have some dinner brought up and after that I try to get some sleep before we do it all again Saturday. Gates open at 8:30am, then qualifying at 9:00. Then we kick off the races. Sunday is a great day because the garage is quiet before the Cup race in the afternoon. But we will still have driver meetings to get to and media requests to handle. Things like that.

: Our job is to put on a party and entertain these fans. I love racing and seeing this level of skill. To be able to showcase that to fans is very special. I stay on the property during race weekend and our partner Levy caters a dinner on Sunday night after the race with family and friends. We get to throw on the shorts, kick off the shoes and have some food to unwind and decompress.