You must know what it feels like when something suddenly hits you and you have a realization of something that almost knocks you off your feet. On the horizon is an important moment and it's no longer in the distance, it is right on top of you.

I just had my moment. Strangely, it occurred when a school bus being driven by a local superintendent roared past me on pit lane of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Let me be clear: this moment in no way reminded me of the 800-horsepower NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars that spring in and out of pit lane on Sundays. But it was loud, it was fast for a bus, and the driver was trying to win a race.

On Tuesday, 10 local superintendents competed for $10,000 for their district to spend on a children's program of their choice. Brian Balke of Goffstown wheeled his bus through the traffic-cone course in just over two and a half minutes, earning a terrific oversized check for his district, as our Race to Benefit Education champ for 2014.

It was during Tuesday's competition that it hit me. I was standing in Victory Lane, under a warm sun, with the grandstands surrounding me. The finish line is very much in sight as we put on the final touches to prepare for the Camping World RV Sales 301 on July 13.

Summer is here, schools all around the region are ringing the end-of-the-year bells, and NASCAR is headed to the Granite State. New England's race season has become a popular summertime tradition for thousands of fans - but this year, things are different.

The process for qualifying to the Chase to the Sprint Cup is vastly different, and there's much more emphasis on winning. Our race on July 13 is positioned right in the middle of the critical Race to the Chase.

As of right now, only one of the last seven drivers to win at NHMS has picked up a win in 2014. The winless include names like Stewart, Kenseth, Bowyer, Kahne, Newman, and Vickers.

Off the track, NHMS isn't the same as it used to be years ago. We have improved fan amenities, new attractions, and upgraded access to the pits before the race. This year, we'll have new pre-race entertainment that will give you a different view of your recycling bin.

It's a new season, it's right on the doorstep and I can't wait for race week in New Hampshire. Hope you're here to enjoy it with me.