Sunday, September 14, 2008
New Hampshire Motor Speedway will add lights as soon as possible
By David Newton
LOUDON, N.H. -- Speedway Motorsports Inc. plans to add lights at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as soon as possible, which would reduce the number of Chase tracks without them to three.
SMI chairman Bruton Smith said before Sunday's Chase opener that the only obstacle is getting out of an agreement former owner Bob Bahre made with a group of neighbors that there never would be night racing at the 1.058-mile track.
"We will overcome that,'' Smith said. "I feel confident about that. As soon as we do that we will erect lights here.''
Smith believes it should be mandatory for all Chase tracks to have lights to give the best opportunity to get races in on the scheduled date. Had there been lights at New Hampshire on Sunday, officials wouldn't have been under such a tight deadline to get the race started before mid-afternoon.
New Hampshire, Dover, Talladega and Martinsville are the only Chase tracks without lights.
"I want to make sure we never lose a race,'' Smith said. "Like today, if we had to start at 6 o'clock or 7 or 8 o'clock we could do so. That's the whole thing in a nutshell.
"And it's good for the fans. We've got to be constantly better for these fans.''
Smith said plans to shorten New Hampshire from just over a mile to a ¾-mile track have been scrapped.
"The track is very raceable,'' he said. "A couple of engineers looked [into it]. We look at a lot of things. I don't see that happening.''
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.