New Hampshire track ready to race with empty stands

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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Auto racing is a popular summer pastime for drivers and fans across our region. But the COVID-19 pandemic brought it to a screeching halt. However, the green flag is flying once again. Our Adam Sullivan reports from Claremont.

After a couple of months delay, racing is set to resume at the Claremont Motorsports Park, but with a couple of new rules.

It's Mike Parks' first year behind the wheel operating the Claremont Motorsports Park and it's fair to say 2020 is not an ideal time.

"This is definitely not the year I envisioned our first year going," Parks said.

Parks are typically packed for races in the summer. But when the cars take to the track Friday night, there will be no fans cheering them on.

"I've been racing since I was in high school. It's a lifestyle. I mean when you are committed to short-track racing in Northern New England, that is what you do during the summer," Parks said.

"You can sit home and put it up on the big screen like you are watching the Super Bowl," Parks said. "So, hopefully, it works. We'll see how it goes at the end of the day."

Phill Mason works with the maintenance crew Friday nights. He's also been taking laps during recent training runs, which are also now back open to drivers.

"It feels amazing to be back by them. There is nothing like the smell of the race fuel and the tires being mixed," Mason said.

And while the stands will be empty, the show must go on. And $24.95 gets you the best seat in the house.

"Definitely they are not going to have as many people watching on pay-per-view. It is still going to be good for the drivers to get out there and run. I mean the pro-stock tour is always a great thing to watch. They put on a show every time they are in Claremont," Mason said.

Track operators say the pay-per-view event is a test run. They hope to break even and cover costs. However, they say, more importantly, they hope spectators will be back in the grandstands soon.

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