Anybody got a gallon of gas for Junior?  I just got back from Charlotte and watching one of the most dramatic Coca-Cola 600 finishes in history.  The highs and lows of NASCAR Sprint Cup race fans could be felt in that final mile of the race.  The crowd roared its approval when one of the most popular drivers on the circuit was literally seconds from snapping a long winless streak. In this case, risk was not rewarded and the team’s estimates about fuel mileage were just short.  Hopes were dashed in turn four when Junior fell off the pace and the race victory went to Kevin Harvick, who is enjoying a solid season of good luck and great finishes.

The drama is only 35 days away from our doorstep.  “The Magic Mile” is readying itself for the return of NASCAR to New England.  It’s clear this is another year in which anyone can take the title, even though the championship has landed in one lap for the last five straight seasons.  The competition level is incredible this season and Jimmie Johnson will have his hands full going for his sixth straight title. Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the Busch brothers and Carl Edwards are just a few of the drivers sprinting to the top of the pack this year.

I will go out on a limb and make a bold prediction here; Johnson will be in it at the end, but I believe we’ll be crowning a new champion in 2011.  No disrespect intended for “Five Time”, but I’ve seen enough of this season’s races first hand and talked to the crew chiefs to know this year is ultra-competitive.  We are in for a fantastic finish.

That’s just the beginning!  Did you catch the final turn of the Indy 500?  You have to feel for a guy who does everything right until his final turn to the checkered flag becomes the new example of blowing it at the finish line.  Congrats to Dan Wheldon for his second Indy 500 victory, condolences to rookie J.R. Hildebrand, who will certainly be back up front again soon? May the duel continue into New Hampshire!  

To welcome the fans back to Loudon, we will offer a variety of new amenities and attractions. Even if you’ve been coming to our races for years, you’ll spot some exciting changes.  Some changes, like the brand new scoreboard, you have heard about.  Other improvements, like a whole new place to kick up your heels on race day, well, you’ll get THAT information very soon.  Bottom line, we intend to make your race experience memorable and exciting.  The drivers will do their part and the speedway will do its part, too. 

So spread the word, NASCAR is coming! Call your friends, make your campground reservations and get ready to fire up the barbecue grill, our season is just a few days away and I can’t wait to see you trackside.