The snow and rain didn’t stop New Hampshire Motor Speedway fans from enjoying all the activities at FANtasy Drive 2 today, marking the official start of the 2011 season.

The green flag dropped on the season of speed at 9 a.m., when fans hit the track for three laps around “The Magic Mile,” in their personal vehicles.

“I’m glad so many people came out in this snowy weather,” said Jerry Gappens executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. “There seems to be a lot of people with smiles on their faces and that’s always a good thing.”

With a chance to sing in front of a NASCAR crowd, 20 national anthem hopefuls competed in the first ever Speedway Star Competition. Six finalists were chosen: Jilly Martin of Chelmsford, Mass.; Nikki Brouillette from Ipswich, Mass; Chris Duffley, of Manchester, N.H.; Courtney Parsons from Londonderry, N.H.;  Alex Wentworth of Rollinsford, N.H. and Alicia Rossman Brentwood, N.H.

Now it is up to race fans to vote for the final two contestants online at nhms.com. Voting will begin Monday, April 25 and continue through May 9.  The two winners will then perform the Star Spangled Banner at either the NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Saturday, July 16 or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday. Sept. 24.

Scott Fugere, of Woonsocket, R.I., belted out the most famous words in motorsports, “gentlemen start your engines” to win the Grand Marshal competition for an upcoming NASCAR event.

Don’t miss any of the action this season of speed at New England’s largest sports and entertainment facility.  Purchase your tickets for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on July 17, the INDYCAR 225 on Aug. 14 and the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. by calling the ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or by visiting www.nhms.com.