LOUDON, N.H. - In an effort to introduce the thrill of NASCAR racing to a younger demographic, New Hampshire Motor Speedway has developed a new school ticket program to attract children to experience the racing action in-person at the track. In addition, a portion of the ticket proceeds - sold to other family members - will go back to local schools. The "Speedway for Kids" Program will offer elementary, middle and high school students an opportunity to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 and/or SYLVANIA 300 for free.
"Fans are the lifeblood of NASCAR and our entire industry is committed to developing new fans," said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. "When I was kid growing up in the Midwest, my parents took me to races before I could walk. From attending the Indy 500 at the age of nine to weekly short tracks like the Kokomo Speedway in Indiana, this exciting sport made a huge impression on me and a fan forever. Our goal is to make a fan for life. We are confident that with young drivers like Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson, and the total experience at the track, younger fans will find many reasons to get hooked on racing."
The free ticket voucher, which will be distributed to more 21,000 students throughout 60-plus schools in New England, will also offer discounted tickets for parents and/or guardians who wish to attend either or both races with the student. For each additional $25 ticket purchased, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will give one dollar back to all participating schools. The voucher is good for one free student ticket, with additional discounted tickets available for adults at $25 per race and children 12 and under at $12.50 per race.
"We appreciate the positive impact schools can make on our youth and all that our teachers do for our children, and this is our way of saying thank you," said Gappens.
The program is being offered to all public schools throughout New Hampshire, as well as special needs schools which focus on at-risk students of all backgrounds.
"This is a great opportunity for our students," said Jessica Squier, director of development and community relations at The Birchtree Center, which helps children and youth with autism in Newington, N.H. "Anything that makes it easier and more affordable for students and their families to try something new and to enjoy spending time together will benefit families living with autism. We appreciate this program and all that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway does to support local children."
The order deadline is May 30 at 5 p.m. with a limit of one voucher per person. Response from schools has been immediate and overwhelming. Already, more than 60 schools in New Hampshire, three from Massachusetts and one school from Maine are taking part in the program.
One sign of growth among young race fans is the steady rise of popularity of Legends race cars, which is a traditional gateway for many professional drivers into the sport. Legends cars and equipment are raced at NHMS each year, and there is a sales facility, the Granite State Legend Cars dealership, on site in Loudon.
"More and more young people are following the path of drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch, who also got their start behind the wheel of a Legends racecar. We believe a new generation of fans is coming our way," said Gappens.
This is the latest in a companywide initiative to bring in a younger fan base to the core group that has made NASCAR an American favorite.
"Attending a NASCAR race isn't just about 43 superfast cars battling it out for 300 miles or going around in circles. It's about the total experience," said Gappens. "That total experience includes elements from a giant state fair, a major concert, camping, inter-active displays, retail shopping and the largest food and beverage menu found anywhere. You can literally see it, hear it, feel it, smell it and taste it."
In addition to the school program, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is offering special pricing for children. Kids under the age of 12 will able to attend both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season for half the price of an adult ticket in any price level. For instance, a $100 adult ticket would cost $50 for a child 12 and under. The discounted ticket price is available for the Camping World RV Sales 301 on Sunday, July 13, and the SYLVANIA 300 on Sunday, Sept. 21.
Schools participating in the program include:
Andover Elementary - Andover, N.H.
Villas Elementary - Alstead, N.H.
Prospect Mountain High - Alton, N.H.
Barnstead Elementary - Barnstead, N.H.
Early Childhood Learning Center - Barnington N.H.
Bethleham Elementary - Bethleham, N.H.
Boscawen Elementary - Boscawen, N.H.
NFI Midway Shelter - Bradford, N.H.
Seacost Learning Center- Brentwood, N.H.
Bristol Elementary - Bristol, N.H.
Broken Ground & Second Start - Concord, N.H.
Fall Mountain High - Charlestown, N.H.
Deerfield Community - Deerfield, N.H.
West Running Brook Middle - Derry, N.H.
Cornerstone Christian Academy - Epsom, N.H.
Errol Consolidated Elementary - Errol, N.H.
Great Bay Learning Center - Exeter, N.H.
Farmington Senior High - Farmington, N.H.
Franklin Middle & High - Franklin, N.H.
Villa Augustina & Maple Ave - Goffstown, N.H.
Edward Fenn - Gorham, N.H.
Hillsboro Elem, Deering, High - Hillsboro, N.H.
Jennie D Blake - Hill, N.H.
Nottingham West Elementary - Hudson, N.H.
Elm Street - Laconia, N.H.
Londonderry South & South Londonderry Elementary - Londonderry, N.H.
Loudon Elementary - Loudon, N.H.
Henry J Mclaughlin Middle - Manchester, N.H.
Mason Elementary - Mason, N.H.
Merrimack Valley, Middle & High - Penacook, N.H.
Moultonborough Academy - Moultonborough, N.H.
Infant Jesus - Nashua, N.H.
The Birchtree Center - Newington, N.H.
Pembroke Village, Hill, Three Rivers - Pembroke, N.H.
Penacook Elementary - Penacook, N.H.
Monarch School of New England - Rochester, N.H.
Rollinsford Grade - Rollinsford, N.H.
Salisbury Elementary - Salisbury, N.H.
Stratford Public - Stratford, N.H.
Warren Village School & Newport Montessori - Warren, N.H.
Webster Elem - Webster, N.H.
Montessori House - Winnisquam, N.H.
Lawlor Early Childhood Center - Lawrence, Mass.
Franco American Elementary & Joseph McAvinnue - Lowell, Mass.
Glickman Academy - Portland, Maine