The year was 1997. Bill Clinton was the president, we lost Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, but we gained a little lamb clone named Dolly. We explored Mars for the first time through unmanned explorers and New England race fans enjoyed fall racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway the very first time.
“The Magic Mile” is one of only 13 tracks in the world to host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in a season.
Fifteen-years have passed since NASCAR’s best drivers began making an encore visit to the 1.058-mile oval. Today, NHMS celebrates the milestone.
“It’s a rare treat for any track to enjoy two coveted Sprint Cup Series visits in one season, and we don’t take that for granted,” explained Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway.
The fall events of 1997 began memorably, as Jeff Gordon wheeled his way to his 10th win of the season, capturing the flag for the CMT 300. Gordon held off a hard-charging Ernie Ervin to earn another trip to victory lane. He went on to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship that year.
Along the way, we’ve celebrated and we have mourned. The 2001 race was postponed following the 9/11 attacks, but the Thanksgiving weekend race to end the season brought unseasonably warm temperatures, great racing and a grandstand full of fans.
“We are grateful to Bob Bahre for convincing NASCAR to bring a second race to the Granite State and we have enjoyed every moment of each fall spectacular,” said Gappens.
This year’s SYLVANIA 300 holds a high status as one of the final ten races in the Chase. New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the second stop in NASCAR’s playoffs between 12 drivers all hoping to win the 2011 championship trophy in November.