The year was 1993. Bill Clinton was president. Tom Hanks won his first Academy Award. And Alan Kulwicki was the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion. It was also the year that the Cup Series debuted at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – July 11, 1993 to be exact. On Sunday, “The Magic Mile” will celebrate the 20th anniversary of that first race with the LENOX Industrial Tools 301, which will be paced by New England’s own Ricky Craven.
“I watched as the track was being built – competed in its first event and celebrated a few times in victory lane,” said Craven. “The 20th anniversary represents a great opportunity for all of us to reflect on the many races, and events. I’m proud to have been a member of several and I’m excited to be coming home.”
Craven (Newburgh, Maine) will drive the Toyota Camry pace car, leading the field around the 1.086-mile oval before the green flag drops. Craven is currently an ESPN in-studio analyst for the “NASCAR Now” show and a part-time color analyst for the Nationwide Series.
Craven retired from full-time racing in the Cup Series in 2004. He finished his Cup career with two wins, 17 top fives and 41 top 10s. He also has six-career poles, including two in New Hampshire.
Rusty Wallace was the first July winner at NHMS, edging Mark Martin in the Slick 50 300. There have been 14 winners in 19 July races at NHMS, including Jeff Burton (three times), Tony Stewart (twice), Jimmie Johnson (twice) and Kurt Busch (twice), each of whom will be in the field on Sunday.
For more details on our 20th anniversary celebration and ticket information on events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, or to purchase tickets to the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR weekends, please stop by our Ticket Office, visit the speedway website at www.nhms.com, or call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931.