McGrath looks to make mark at New Hampshire
If you happen to be a track promoter or a race fan, there is a pretty good chance you believe there is no such thing as too much racing.
At least that's the case for New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath and the fan base that fills the grandstands two weekends a year at the 1-mile track located in Loudon, New Hampshire.
"The crowds tell you no," McGrath told NASCAR.com. "Those stands don't empty.
"They get it twice a year (at our facility) and they live for it. Like any other part of the country, the Northeast race fan is a rabid fan of our sport. They love it; they can't wait to get up to New Hampshire. They plan their summers and early fall around those races."
McGrath, a native New Englander, understands the region's race fans, the bulk of whom arrive from in-state, with nearby Massachusetts and those making the trek from across the Canadian border making up a sizable chunk as well.
Named to oversee the Speedway Motorsports Inc. track in October of '15, McGrath has quickly become acquainted with the intricacies and aspects of running such a facility.
"Yeah, jack of all trades, master of none," he said. "You have to work at state level, local level, know your governor, senators, representatives and local selectmen. ... We care a great deal about our municipalities and our towns we work with, because we are all in the same boat together. We are the largest driver of economic revenue (in the state), but we don't do that with a swagger.
"You are always trying to be understanding, tolerable and work together to figure out solutions. But make no mistake, the vision of the speedway is to be able to utilize that 1,100 acres with the team we've got and find new, cool events, create things for fans to come and experience."
The typical race weekend at New Hampshire will see anywhere from three to four series competing during the course of three days. A Sprint Cup/XFINITY Series doubleheader in the summer and a Sprint Cup/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader in the fall headline programs that also include events from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Whelen Modified Tour and American Canadian Tour.
It's rare to wander into the facility during a race weekend and not hear cars of one sort or another on the track, either practicing, qualifying or racing.
Competing at New Hampshire is a big, big deal, especially for the grassroots circuits.
"Certainly in the case of the Modifieds it is, no question," McGrath said. "They are a touring series that travels all over the Northeast and they look at New Hampshire as their big, big event. Their Daytona, if you will."
The track has played host to the Whelen Modified Series since 1990, three years before Sprint Cup came calling, and the list of previous winners includes such standouts as Mike McLaughlin, Steve Park, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Tony Hirschman and Ted Christopher.
"Saturday on either race weekend at our track, whether it's July or September, I think is one of the best deals in all of motorsports as far as for the race fans," McGrath said. "Absolutely. You get three great races. In July you've got the K&N race to end the day, you've got XFINITY and then you've got Modifieds. And then in September, you've got Modifieds, Trucks, and the ACT. That's just a great day."
In addition to hosting two Sprint Cup Series races, including one that falls in the Round of 16 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the fall Truck Series race will serve as that series' opener for its inaugural seven-race Chase.
Off the track, McGrath said his vision is to continue to develop those things that track ownership -- the facility is one of eight operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc. -- has already undertaken.
"We work for the fans," he said. "One of my visions is to continually improve the facility to make it more fan friendly than it already is. Our company has invested a lot of money since we purchased the track back in 2007 going into 2008. We're going to continue to do those things as it makes sense.
"We will continue to evaluate areas where we can improve the fan experience. We've built bath/shower houses, increased and improved site drainage ... and have new paving areas all over the campgrounds and the facility.
"But the vision would really be to evolve and improve the track and think about new ways to increase the fan experience."