They call it “The Magic Mile,” and for good reason. Loudon’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) is the premier race track in New Hampshire (and arguably in the entire region north of Pennsylvania) and has seen its fair share of thrilling races and photo finishes.
The track is beloved among race fans because of its affordable prices, numerous events, and family-friendly atmosphere. As for its racing, the track offers a 1.058-mile oval, a 1.6-mile full road course, a 0.95-mile inner road course, and quarter-mile asphalt and dirt tracks.
The track is home to several popular races, including a NASCAR event, as well as a long list of things to see and do during racing season.
In short, if there’s a vehicle you can race, you can probably find it competing at NHMS. The track is home to a wide variety of races, ranging from NASCAR to soapbox derbies.
Every summer, NHMS roars to life with the sound of NASCAR cars thundering around The Magic Mile. And, up until 2017, it was home to a stop on the NASCAR playoff circuit. What makes the race so unique is what happens after the race.
Since the early days of the race, the winner of the race wins a massive live lobster called “Loudon the Lobster.” As the tradition goes, the lobster is thereafter thoroughly cooked. The meat goes to the winning race team, and the lobster body goes to a taxidermist who stuffs and paints it.
Then, and this is the unique bit, the lobster is made into a trophy.
The race typically takes place in July, and tickets are pretty reasonable at around $50 for adults and $10 for children. Fortunately, NASCAR betting is legal in New Hampshire via DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Loudon Classic is known as the longest–running motorcycle race in America. Launched in 1923, the race is officially known as the Loudon Classic Middleweight Grand Prix. Riders weave their way through the track’s 1.6–mile road course.
The race is the climax of a jam-packed weekend of racing that includes Formula 1-4; Formula 40, 50, and 60, and several other racing classes.
Tickets are around $25 for adults and free for kids 12 and under.
What to see and do
NHMS isn’t just a track for big races and big names. It’s also home to a variety of smaller races and local events popular with race fans in the area.
- Driving experiences:
NHMS hosts driving experiences through the spring and summer. Guests can pay to drive on the oval track that NASCAR races zip around, the facility’s 1.6-mile road track, and drift in the property’s parking lot
- Road-course series:
NHMS is home to the Granite State Legends Cars Road Course Series. Cars built to resemble vehicles from the ‘30s and ‘40s zip around the track’s inner and outer road courses as part of the U.S. Legend Cars International Series.
- Loud’N Proud membership:
Anyone who buys Saturday and Sunday tickets to the NASCAR weekend gets complimentary membership in the Loud’N Proud rewards program. Being a member means getting a commemorative pin, entry into a variety of race-day perks and giveaways, and access to exclusive parking at weekend races.
- New Hampshire Soap Box Derby Spring and Fall Rallies
Each spring, the state’s top soap-box racers gather at NHMS to compete in a time-honored tradition. Soap-box derbies have been running in New Hampshire for more than 80 years.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway first opened in 1990 under the name “New Hampshire International Speedway.” Track organizers didn’t waste any time getting racing going at the track. It hosted the Loudon Classic just 12 days after opening.
Then, less than two months later, it hosted NASCAR’s Budweiser 300–Tommy Ellis took home the win.
“I tell you it was one tough race, and this Goo Goo Cluster Buick, it ran like hell all day long…the crew did a hell of a job,” Ellis said in the post-race interview. “This is the greatest day of my life.”
Ellis likely spoke for many fans at the race track, many of whom were likely attending the first NASCAR race of their lives.
Seventeen years later, after the track’s reputation built up and New Hampshire’s racing community, O. Bruton Smith bought the speedway and renamed it New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Over the years, the track has seen some spectacular days that have lived up to its nickname, “The Magic Mile.” It was the first facility in New England to host a single–day sporting event with more than 100,00 guests. More than 500,000 people attend race events at the track each year.
The fastest qualifying speed ever at the Speedway? That honor goes to Brazilian racer Andrew Ribeiro, who clocked 177.436 miles per hour during Indycar qualifying in 1995.
As for the fastest qualifying speed ever hit in NASCAR qualifying, Brad Keselowski owns that record. He clocked 140.598 miles per hour during a 27-second lap in 2014.
Tickets, where to park, and how to get there
Tickets for events at NHMS can be purchased through the speedway’s website. When you get to the speedway, you’ll have multiple parking options. There are free general parking lots through the North and South entrances. Some events will provide premium parking at an additional cost.
Track rules allow spectators to bring seat cushions, and clear or soft-sided coolers that measure 14 inches across or less are allowed. Guests can bring food, water, and alcohol, although all three items are available for purchase at the track.
Ahead of NASCAR weekend only, NHMS provides scanner rentals. The scanners allow race fans to listen to communication between drivers and their pit crew. Rentals must be reserved in advance; they aren’t available for rent on race day.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is located at 1122 Route 106 North in Loudon. It’s easily accessible from the 93 and 393.