Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H., kicks off its 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American season on Friday, helping lead the final 16 NASCAR Home Tracks to open in May.
Lee opens for its 22nd season of operation by John “Red” MacDonald and his wife Judy. The .375-mile paved oval hosts six divisions weekly. They include Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Small Block Supermodifieds, Roadrunners, Hobby Stocks, and the Ironman Division.
The MacDonalds have been making some moves recently with the fans in mind.
“Last year, we rolled back our general admission from $12 to $10; That helped our fans and it helped us keep them,” Red MacDonald said.
For 2009, the youth pricing has shifted to 12-and-under from 10-and-under, and student pricing now encompasses ages 13-16.
To emphasize the family aspect, a section of grandstands directly in front of the track’s Johnson Lumber Control Tower has been designated as a “family zone,” free of smoking, alcohol consumption and profanity.
In addition, a secondary ticket booth has been put into place to help the flow of entry through the front gates.
Once inside, fans will find a new restroom facility under construction that will serve the front grandstands and eliminate portable johns.
“One of the first things we did when we bought the track in 1987 was build nice restrooms toward Turns 3 and 4,” Red MacDonald. “We’ll now have two complete sets of facilities available.”
The track has also instituted an “economic stimulus package” of its own according to Promotions and Marketing Director Bob Watson.
“We’ve invited any head of household who has lost their job in 2009 to send us a copy of proof of unemployment, along with their name and the names of their family members,” Watson said. “Then we’ll draw four families per week and invite them to enjoy the races on the MacDonalds. We’ll give them meal tickets, too.”
Watson says the track is also helping their weekly racers at the back gate.
“Drivers who registered for the 2009 season before April 1 received a coupon booklet,” he said. “They can use their coupons when we have special events that will keep their admission the same as a regular show to offset any potential pit price increase.”
Watson also believes in the power of radio promotions. Prior to a preseason special event, a seven-station syndicate had two drivers on for a half hour during morning drive-time. He and track announcer Deryl Morley are hosting an hour-long program named “Motorcade” on WNBP-1450 AM in Newburyport, Mass. The hosts and guests will take questions and comments via e-mail and live call-ins. The program will cover events not only at Lee, but New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., All-Star Speedway in Epping, N.H., and New England Dragway.
The complete list of 17 NASCAR-sanctioned short tracks opening in May include:
- May 1: Lee U.S.A. Speedway, Lee, N.H.
- May 2: All Star Speedway, Epping, N.H.; Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome; Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway.
- May 3: Autodrome St. Eustache, St. Eustache, Quebec; I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Neb.; Raceway Park, Shakopee, Minn.
- May 8: Farley (Iowa) Speedway; Superior (Wisc.) Speedway;
- May 9: Edmonton International Raceway, Leduc, Alberta, Canada;
- May 10: Dubuque (Iowa) Fairgrounds Speedway
- May 16: Barrie Speedway, Barrie, Ontario, Canada;
- May 22: Spencer Speedway, Williamson, N.Y.;
- May 23: Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, Maine; Holland (N.Y.) Motorsports Complex; Lake Erie Speedway, Erie, Pa.
Since the inception of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR’s Home Tracks have served as a springboard in the careers of many eventual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers all began their NASCAR careers racing at one of NASCAR’s Home Tracks.
Sources: Paul Schaefer/NASCAR PR