Loudon sees smooth NASCAR Sprint Series on Sunday
LOUDON — When Matt Kenseth held off Kyle Busch to win the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway late Sunday afternoon, the pavement below them was dry, despite the weekend's inclement weather.
Moderately heavy rains fell Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Forecasters said the rain would end by 11 a.m., and the race was scheduled at 2 p.m. It takes about two hours for the track's road crews to dry wet pavement, so it looked to be a close call.
Had the rain continued, the race would have been postponed.
"The rain stopped at about 8:10 a.m., which gave us plenty of time, thankfully," said Tom Blanchette, director of operations at the speedway.
Speedway officials used their seven jet-engine dryers and other equipment to dry the track in the morning, and the sunshine helped finish the job as race time approached.
"It took us two hours and 10 minutes," Blanchette said. "The track was dry. Because of that, we had one hell of a race."
There were no problems all weekend at the speedway, said Kristen Costa, the track's director of communications.
"The weather turned back to our favor, so everything went smoothly," she said.
Race goers may have noticed a different kind of aircraft flyover than usual Sunday. Prior to this year, the U.S. Air Force sent jets to Loudon for pre-race flyovers, but that tradition ended because of the government's sequestration cuts earlier this year.
Speedway officials had promised some sort of replacement for the jets. On Sunday, prior to the race, a vintage World War II-era B-17 flew over the track.
Costa said the speedway and the owner of the plane, the Collings Foundation of Stow, Mass., worked together to bring the plane, which was at Manchester Airport last week as part of the foundation's Wings of Freedom tour, to the track.
Other winners Sunday included five New Hampshire Lottery players who took part in New Hampshire Lottery's Set for Life drawing before the race, competing for a chance to win the top prize of $100,000 a year for life. Amy McCloskey of Philadelphia, Pa., and Christina Staunton of Middleton, Del., won $500,000.
Other winners were Roland Tremblay of Derry, who won $100,000; Remi Gilbert of Windham, who won $25,000; David Tamminen of Morganton, N.C.; and Helen Giarusso of Methuen, Mass., who won $75,000.