What a nice day today! It's warm, the snow's melting, you can see some green poking through the ground; it's spring, right!? When's FANtasy Drive?
Nope. Unfortunately, that opinion falls somewhere between delusional and denial. We just got an early, pre-Halloween snowstorm before the late autumn warmth restored order to the season today.
Still, the first snow is always a sad day at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It's the end of the season and it fittingly came just in time to close out the year.
Sure, the big crowds that packed the stands for major race weekends have long since migrated south to Alabama, Virginia and, now, Texas. But, the race season lingers on through most of October at NHMS in the form of local series, clubs and driving schools. However, as we begin November, even those have packed up.
This past Sunday was the last scheduled day of on-track activity. The local Loudon Road Race Series wrapped up its race season in mid-October. The garage doors are closed. Victory Lane is empty. The scoreboard is off. And, 93,521 bleacher seats sit quietly hoping that someone will come take a seat.
Yet, those stands know that they'll have to bear the weight of snow before they bear the weight of a Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart fan.
It's time to tuck the Speedway in for the winter, New Hampshire! Many of you already got the power knocked out and had to start the wood fires to combat the snow. We're on the cusp of winter right now, but I don't want to get you too down-and-out heading into the holiday season.
Let's look at the positives.
First of all, so long as the power is restored, you have three Sundays left to sit comfortably in your heated home and watch Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart battle down to the wire for the Sprint Cup.
Then, you have Thanksgiving and the holidays. Keep in mind that good things come in small packages and that envelope that fell to the bottom of the pile of presents could well be the one you want to open: tickets to next year's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 (July 15) or SYLVANIA 300 (Sept. 23)!
After New Year's, most of you will be busy snowmobiling, hitting the slopes or skating, I know I'll be getting plenty of hockey in! By the time, you come back in for some hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies, it's about time for what's turned into a month of Daytona.
We also have good news here at NHMS. With FANtasy Drive traditionally scheduled for the Saturday of Easter weekend, we'll be opening our doors back up to you the fans on Sat., April 7, far earlier than last year's April 23 date!
How's that for a top-speed race through winter!?
Don't despair we'll have as much of a racing void here at NHMS as any of you. We already miss that we can't walk outside on the any given day and hear the roar of an engine or hum of a motorcycle. But, the season is cyclical and we can't start up next year until we're done laying this one to rest for the winter.
Winter might be on the way, but the 2012 race season will shoo it out of the way in far less time than we think.