NHIS Sale To SMI Could Affect Busch East And Modifieds by Penny Aicardi
What Will Become Of New England Speedweeks After Sale To SMI
But after today’s announcement that Bob Bahre has sold the track to Bruton Smith and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the future of the NASCAR Busch East Series, at least at NHIS, is in question. Bob Bahre always made it a point to keep the regional touring divisions included on the schedule, but whether or not it will be as important to the new ownership is unknown at this time. It is unlikely that the same commitment to the “stepping-stone” series’ Bahre has demonstrated over the years will carry over.
I don’t know,” responded Smith when asked if a similar commitment will be there for the support divisions. “You’re asking me about something I’m not really familiar with. I think we’ll let the new management make those kinds of decisions.”
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. will keep Bahre on as a consultant, but an announcement is forthcoming about who will actually make those kinds of management decisions.
“You have no control over it so you hope that something positive comes out of it and our series benefits from it in someway. We may lose a Cup event, but maybe there’s a Busch or Truck event that will still be there. Our series isn’t going to be given a lot of consideration when they are devising their master plan,” said Matt Kobyluck, driver of the #40 Mohegan Sun Casino Chevrolet.
New Hampshire International Speedway has long been the premier track for drivers and crew members to display their talents in front of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series decision-makers. Drivers such as Martin Truex, Jr., Steve Park, and Ricky Craven were able to demonstrate their ability to wheel a car on tracks more similar to those that are frequented by the national-based series’.
Is the sun setting on exciting Busch East Series amd Whelen Modified events at New Hampshire?
New Hampshire International Speedway and the NASCAR Busch East Series have had a long and storied history together. Since the track opened in 1990, the 1.058-mile oval has hosted 48 Busch East Series events and 46 Whelen Modified Tour races.
“The fear is losing a Cup date, which would ultimately affect the Busch East Series,” said 2001 and 2006 Champion Mike Olsen.
“Losing the Bahre family is a big negative,” added seven time Whelen Modified Tour Champion Mike Stefanik. “They were very beneficial to any New England racer. They always went that extra step. They did all kinds of things that aren’t normally found anywhere for the tours that ran. We were fortunate to be a part of NHIS. To lose that is big enough not to mention the fact that we might lose everything. It’s pretty scary. New England race fans could lose some pretty entertaining races. It’s a big loss if (Smith) pulls one date or both dates. If we lose out on going to New Hampshire it’s going to be a major financial blow to the Modifieds no doubt. It could be just what we don’t need. I’m hoping that’s not the case.”