Hats off to the Bahre family. Bob Bahre, the owner of New Hampshire International Speedway, has widened the track by 12 feet in two areas, one between turns one and two and the other between turns three and four, to create an additional racing groove.
The new configuration at the one-mile oval will be unveiled this Saturday when the Busch [Grand National] 200 and Busch [North] 125 are held.
The one knock on NHIS has been the fact it has always been a one-groove track.
Fans attend auto races for three reasons: 1. watching a neighbor, friend, relative, or favorite driver race; 2. the thrill of side-by-side racing; and 3. wrecks.
The third may seem barbaric, but it’s human nature.
Nobody wants to see a driver injured, but there is a morbid sense of excitement derived from watching a multi-car pileup.
Why is Six Mile Falls the most populated viewing area during the the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race?
It’s certainly not to see a panoramic view of the stream.
Six Mile Falls is where the vast majority of spills occur.
Because NHIS was a one-groove track, passing was difficult and side-by-side racing was rare.
And there have been few multi-car wrecks over the years.
Racing detractors would ask, “Who wants to go watch cars go around in a circle?”
The Loudon races would serve as ammunition for the detractors.
Even the drivers expressed their frustration.
The Bahres have always been progressive. They have consistently sought ways to improve their track and the racing atmosphere.
They have added seating and made improvements to the track.
Adding another racing groove will create more side-by-side racing which will lead to more bumping.
“This is an example of the Bahres working with NASCAR to do the best thing for the fans and racers,” said Fred Neergaard, the public relations director at NHIS.
The Bahres are also planning to install energy-absorbing soft walls with a price tag of $300,000 in time for the first of their two Winston Cup races.
The New England 300 will be held on July 21 with the New Hampshire 300 scheduled for Sept. 15.
Winston Cup drivers Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin died in separate accidents when they slammed into the wall in turn three in 2000.
Charismatic fund-raiser is needed
So what kind of athletic director will the University of Maine need to replace Sue Tyler, who announced her resignation effective June 30?
A charismatic fund-raiser with tremendous patience, somebody who is trustworthy and cognizant of the economic issues confronting a state that is 36th in per capita income.
He or she must not alienate the potential big-money boosters. There aren’t many of them.
The new AD must gain the respect of all financial boosters and attract other potential boosters.
Tyler’s replacement must make intelligent hires: personable overachievers who thrive on challenges.
Due to the financial climate at Maine, which will include budget cuts in excess of $400,000 from the athletic department over the next two years, there is a daunting task ahead.
Sports should not be cut.
Tyler had her strengths and weaknesses.
She had to handle some extremely difficult situations such as the NCAA men’s hockey investigation and sanctions and the death of extremely successful and popular hockey coach Shawn Walsh, who lost his valiant battle with kidney cancer on Sept. 24.
She also had to deal with the annual budgetary grind.
Sue Tyler’s heart was always in the right place and she was accessible. She kept the program afloat during those troublesome times and deserves credit for it.
Larry Mahoney can be reached at 990-8231, 1-800-310-8600, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.