Stock cars,vintage open-wheel cars, dragsters and motorcycles all have a spot in the history books when it comes to racing in the Northeast, and now, all of these forms of motorsports will be featured in the new state-of-the-art Northeast Motorsports Museum at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The Racing History Preservation Group and “The Magic Mile” announced the beginning of fund raising efforts to create a 20,000-square-foot motorsports museum on Rt. 106 in Loudon, N.H. The announcement was made by Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway, RHPG president Dick Berggren, New England fan favorite and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Craven.
“We are working hard to develop year-round tourism opportunities and good economic development here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The museum will serve as one of those anchor attractions,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. “This is a major coup for the state of New Hampshire to have it located here and not in another New England state. I’m sure with Dick’s passion and energy, plus the support of race fans and nearly 400,000 visitors a year to this site, this will be a very successful project.”
The Board is filled with New England racing greats including Ricky Craven, Ron Bouchard, Lew Boyd, Russ Conway, Andy Cusack, Ken Smith, Ed Shea, Joe Lombardo, Ric Mariscal, Skip Matczak, R.A. Silvia, George Summers and Pete vonSneidern.
“It’s great to be home,” said three-time NHMS winner Ricky Craven. “This museum is such a great opportunity to protect some of the things that have been a big part of my life and a big part of my career. How I preserve those things is important to me, and what Dick is doing is motivation for me to bring some things to the table for this attraction, one of which is the car I raced during the Thanksgiving race here. It’s also the car I won my first race in at Martinsville. I have that car, and my objective is to get that car refurbished and make it part of the display, mainly because I want people to understand the history of the sport.”
The museum will display numerous cars on the first floor of the building. The second floor will house a library, memorabilia collection that will include helmets and trophies, as well as a theatre that will show videos of the regions motorsports history. The museum’s library will include photographs, slides, negatives, programs, books, posters and magazines.
“We feel an urgency to preserve as much of the Northeast’s racing history as we can,” said Dick Berggren. “Too many photo collections, newspapers, books, programs and even cars have already been lost. The sport will benefit when folks can come to a first class museum and learn about as much of the area’s rich racing history as we can save and make available to the public.”
Every collector that’s been contacted has agreed to loan cars and/or motorsports artifacts to the museum. An ever-changing array of items will mean that repeat visitors will see something new each time they visit. Displays will focus on racing history in the Northeastern part of the United States, focusing mainly on the New England region although eastern New York and eastern Canada tracks are included.
RHPG has been awarded 501 (c) 3 (non-profit) status, which results in tax advantages for donors. To receive a literature package on the new museum, please call (978) 471-9161 or write Racing History Preservation Group, 7 Bayview Rd., Ipswich, Mass. 01938. For more information please visit www.NEMSMuseum.com.