On July 14, Sam Hornish Jr. will try to be the first NASCAR Nationwide Series driver to cross “The Granite Stripe” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the F.W. Webb 200. Today, he completed half of those 200 miles during a New England visit that stretched from Concord, N.H. all the way down to Lowell, Mass.

Hornish, along with Crew Chief Chad Walter, visited Concord High School, Southern New Hampshire Medical Facility in Nashua, N.H., and Bailey International Elementary School in Lowell, Mass., before capping off the trip with a tweetup at Axel’s Food & Ice Cream in Merrimack, N.H.

“I love coming up here, beautiful weather like we’ve had today, great scenery and I like the racetrack as well,” said Hornish, driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts/WURTH Dodge Charger. “Being able to come up here, meet some people, talk and get some kids interested in racing. … I just had a good time and I’m glad we had the opportunity to be able to do it.”

Hornish and Walter began their day in the New Hampshire state capital, visiting with students in Concord High School’s Auto Tech Class, where they explained how they got into auto racing and even took a tour of the shop to see what the students have been working on. The two also ventured outside – during an impromptu fire drill – for a glimpse of the Nationwide demo car, showing students the technology that goes into racing, as well as answering questions from the class.

“Being a father of four, children always put a smile on my face,” said Walter, who is in his first full season as Hornish’s crew chief. “I think it’s great that somehow, someway I’ve been a role model to an 18-year-old. I think that’s great and I feel very blessed and fortunate that I’m in that position and maybe I can say one thing that might get them to enjoy a successful lifestyle like I’ve enjoyed in racing.”

Their next stop was about 40 miles down Interstate 93 to the Southern NH Medical Center Rehab Facility in Nashua. Hornish and Walter sat down with several patients to discuss their rehabilitation, as well as offered words of encouragement and talked about recovering from injuries in the racing business.

From Nashua, the two traveled a bit further down I-93 and across the state line to Bailey International Elementary School in Lowell, Mass. The youngsters were eager to get a glimpse of a real-life NASCAR star, and Hornish was more than happy to talk about racing and the importance of staying in school and getting an education. Students then spent time with Hornish and Walter, checking out the demo car and asking questions about racing.

After departing campus, the two made their way back up I-93 to Axel’s Food & Ice Cream in Merrimack for a tweetup with fans and customers. It was a wonderful turnout with several fans taking the time to sit and chat with Hornish and Walter, who were more than happy to oblige. The two even took part in making their own ice cream “Saturdaes” to support the F.W. Webb 200 on Saturday, July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I think I had too much mint. Where I come from I don’t see peppermint ice cream too much,” Hornish joked. “Everything was good. I’m full, I was fed well today and I’m going to sleep on the plane ride home, I can tell you that much.”

Every student, patient and fan attending today’s events received a pair of complimentary tickets to the events on Saturday, July 14, which includes the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Town Fair Tire 100, the Global RallyCross Championship and NASCAR Nationwide Series F.W. Webb 200, featuring Hornish. They also received a complimentary ticket to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on Sunday, July 15.

For more details 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.