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Allen Lessels' Motorsports: The stage is set for racing at NHMS
Workers install a dirt section of the Global Rally Cross track for Thursday's races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
NASCAR WeekendThursday, July 11
1 p.m.: Gates Open
4 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hauler Parade
5:30 p.m.: Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global RallyCross
7:30 p.m.: WOKQ Fan Fest
Friday, July 12
9 a.m.: Gates open
3:40 p.m.: Sprint Cup Camping World RV Sales 301 qualifying
4:45 p.m.: Whelen Modified Town Fair Tire 100 qualifying
Saturday, July 13
8 a.m.: Gates Open
10:05 p.m.: Nationwide “The Profit” 200 qualifying
1 p.m.: Whelen Modified Town Fair Tire 100
3:30 p.m.: Nationwide “The Profit” 200
Sunday, July 14
7 a.m.: Speedway Children's Charities Track Walk
8 a.m.: Gates Open
10:30 a.m.: Toyota Wheel and Deal pre-race show
12:30 p.m.: Driver introductions
1 p.m.: Sprint Cup Camping World RV Sales 301
NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series rolls into town, led by five-time champion and points-leader Jimmie Johnson and a full cast of supporters for its first of two visits to the state over the next 11 weeks.
Workers set up their cables and got ready to put in place the giant video boards that tower above the infield. Others spiffed up the Toyota and Camping World signs in Turn 4 before moving on to others.
The course, part dirt and part pavement with jumps and hairpin turns mixed in, is for Travis Pastrana and the racing-on-the-edge drivers of the Global RallyCross series.
The GRC race is at 5:30 this afternoon, rain or shine, and will be televised on ESPN on Saturday night at 7:30.
"I think it gives us a great lead-in to the weekend," he said.
Gates open for spectators at 1 p.m. and there are heat races through the day. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for ages 12-16 and admission is free for those under 12.
Gone, at least for now, are bands such as Three Dog Night and The Marshall Tucker Band, who traditionally have performed on Sunday morning at the track's start/finish line.
Only eight races remain before the field is set for the Chase to the Sprint Cup after Richmond on Sept. 7.
Johnson leads the points today, and he and Matt Kenseth, sixth in points, are locks to make the Chase with four Cup wins each.Clint Bowyer is second in points. He has no wins, but has already looked good at New Hampshire this year.
"I didn't feel like we were very good, I felt we were pretty slow," said Joey Logano. "Bowyer was here and he was rocket-ship fast."
Logano (June, 2009) and Bowyer (September, 2007 and September, 2010) are among the Cup drivers who have won at New Hampshire and among the 10 different drivers who have won in the last 10 races at New Hampshire.
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