Award-Winning Inaugural Year for Museum
As it approaches the first anniversary of the North East Motor Sports Museum, the region's newest tourist attraction can already call itself an award-winning museum. Created by racers, fans and enthusiasts, the museum caught the eye of business leaders as The Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce recently awarded North East Motor Sports Museum with a Golden Hammer Award.
The team leading the museum effort has announced an expansion plan with more space and new exhibits for 2018, and a second phase of construction to begin in the near future.
"I was one of those kids in high school with a car book inside his history book. Friends of mine had been talking about some sort of museum, hall of fame, whatever, for drag racing specifically, probably for 25 years, but there was just never enough of the right people, right influence to make it happen." said Gil Coraine, operations director of the museum. "When Dick Berggren retired from FOX Sports, he decided he was going to spearhead this thing, and with his notoriety and contacts, he made it happen. You'll see a list of names on the wall of people who made major contributions of time, money, parts, services, and without them, it would still probably happen, but we wouldn't be sitting in it right now."
The museum's leadership intends to rotate through its significant inventory of memorabilia every year to guarantee a fresh visit for fans annually.
Some of the 20 new museum exhibits fans can check out include:
- Around one-third of the cars and motorcycles that were on the floor when the museum opened in June, 2017, will be replaced this spring.
- The majority of 20" X 30” photos that have hung on the walls since the museum opened will be replaced with new photos.
- Once one of the most popular forms of New England motorsports, today's hillclimb activity is focused on the Mount Washington Climb to the Clouds. A car that twice set speed records for the run to the top of the mountain was built and driven by dirt track stock car driver Jerry Driscoll and is new to the museum’s floor.
- A new early Funny Car has arrived and is on display.
- Ed Shea as owner and Russ Wood as driver were a formidable supermodified team. Their most successful car won two Lee USA Speedway championships and two ISMA championships. The car, which has been magnificently restored, and a collection of huge trophies won by Shea and Wood are new to the museum and on the floor.
- The museum has been promised a newly-restored Autodynamics F/V car. There was a time when Autodynamics was building more race cars, most of them F/V, than anyone else in America. Their shop was in Marblehead, MA.
- Nearly one-third of the large display boards that have been on the floor will be replaced with new ones. Included will be three new drag racing display panels, Topsfield Fair photos, Thompson early road racing images and a back/front featuring two New England’s drivers who are racing in the top division of their discipline (Joey Logano and David Gravel).
- New cars, motorcycles, trophies, and photography will greet the museum’s guests in 2018. As before, everything will have a New England connection.
Located on Route 106 North in Loudon, the building is about 10,000 square feet and is the first phase of what will grow to additional space as funding allows. All forms of motor sports are represented in the museum, including cars and motorcycles, drag-racing, road courses, hill climbs, soap box derby cars, and even a snowmobile on display. Racers, fans, and their families have donated countless hours of labor, skills, materials, artifacts, and, most importantly, history and personal stories that date back to 1915.
"We are thrilled by the success of the inaugural year of the museum; it has exceeded our expectations and created a destination site for visitors to the capitol region of New Hampshire," says NHMS Executive Vice President and General Manager, David McGrath. "We have room to grow and more items than we ever dreamed we could collect to display for race fans and visitors."
Currently, the museum is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $10 for the general public, $7 for seniors 65 and over, and free for seniors 75 and over, children under 12, active military, and first responders. Charter members and exhibitors are free with one guest.
For ticket information on all 2018 events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, including the July Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race weekend and the Full Throttle Fall Weekend in September, please stop by the ticket office, visit the speedway website at www.nhms.com, or call Fan Relations at (603) 783-4931.