Forget Punxsutawney Phil! Weary, snow-bound New Englanders looked to Loudon the Lobster, New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s favorite crustacean, as he officially waved the white flag on winter.

Loudon, the fastest lobster in the world, emerged from his tank to visit “The Magic Mile’s” Granite Stripe start-finish line to predict when “Snowmageddon 2011” will end and when racing will resume at the speedway.

According to the direction of the 11-pound shellfish’s massive claws crossing the Granite Stripe, there is only one more week until NASCAR racing begins and just five months before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to NHMS for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on Sunday, July 17.

Jerry Gappens, New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s executive vice president and general manager, joined in the fun by shoveling 55 inches of snow off of the track’s Granite Stripe in preparation for the upcoming season of speed.

“I think we’ll be more than ready by July 17”, joked Gappens. “Standing there, I could envision sunny skies, 85 degrees, a full grandstand and all of the color, drama and excitement of NASCAR racing here, for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301!”

The speedway’s snow squad has also been hard at work, removing nearly five feet of snow from around the property. The 55 inches of snow is double what the state saw last winter, during this same time period. The snow removed at the speedway would be equal to piling snow on top of the entire football field at Gillette Stadium, 27 feet high. 

So, according to Loudon the Lobster, spring is just around the corner and it won’t be long before New Hampshire Motor Speedway race fans are basking in the sun while watching the greatest racers in the world.

That means it’s time to purchase tickets for all three of the speedway’s major motorsports events, the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 17, the INDYCAR 225 on Aug. 14 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 25.

Tickets are available by calling the track’s ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or by visiting www.nhms.com.