During the holiday season, it's often said that it's better to give than to receive, and visitors of the Gift of Lights presented by Eastern Propane & Oil at New Hampshire Motor Speedway proved that during the 2017 holiday season by helping to increase annual donations to local charities in Loudon, N.H. and beyond. Through this holiday tradition, the Loudon Food Pantry can now provide an additional 11,700 meals to those in need while the $2,400 raised by the Loudon Firefighter's Association will help purchase new rescue equipment for the town.

Patrons who donated non-perishable items received a discount on admission into the event, and in total contributed 11,700 pounds of food throughout the 35-day show. The generosity of visitors from across New England resulted in a year-over-year increase of 2,000 pounds of more food than last year and marked the highest donation to the pantry from the Gift of Lights in four years. Along with the food, New Hampshire Motor Speedway received over $500 in monetary donations which allows the pantry to purchase additional essential food items not currently in inventory.

"We're extremely overjoyed with the size of the Gift of Lights donation this year, and every year," said Sue Houck, President of the Loudon Food Pantry. "Winter is always a difficult time in New Hampshire, and generous donations like this are very beneficial to our community. Especially with how harshly this winter has started, being able to provide local families with a meal is incredibly helpful in supporting them through these cold months."

Since the Gift of Lights first started in 2011, food and monetary donations have allowed New Hampshire Motor Speedway to donate over 85,000 pounds of food to the Loudon Food Pantry. That has provided an estimated 70,000 meals to locals during the holiday and winter months.

For the first time this year, the Loudon Firefighter's Association hosted the Saturday night s'more pit and raised over $2,400. These funds will be used to help purchase a universal terrain vehicle to help with forest fires and rescues in the town.

A portion of all admission proceeds benefits the N.H. Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities who will receive several thousand dollars to kick off their 2018 fundraising efforts. Last year, N.H. SCC distributed $222,000 benefiting 122,000 children in the New England region including 26 organizations right here in New Hampshire.

The Gift of Lights presented by Eastern Propane & Oil is a 2.5-mile drive-thru holiday light show, which turns New Hampshire Motor Speedway into a winter wonderland with over 400 displays and two million LED lights. Attendance for the event that ran from Nov. 24-Dec. 31, 2017, was up an estimated 25% from the 2016 event and ranked as one of the most highly attended Gift of Lights seasons since it began seven years ago.

The green flag has waved on 2018, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway is quickly preparing for another great race season with two NASCAR weekends. From July 20-22, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to New England as the feature on a busy weekend schedule. On Sept. 21-22, the Full Throttle Fall Weekend promises to maintain the late summer heat with a tripleheader of NASCAR regional series, featuring a 250-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race. For information on how you can be a part of the live racing experience this year, please stop by the fan relations office, visit www.nhms.com, or call our ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931.