There is still some work to do, but there are indicators that the economy is beginning to loosen its death grip on NASCAR and its member tracks.
Officials at New Hampshire Motor Speedway say "The Magic Mile" has seen a spike in sales for both its July and September NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, compared to 2011. "We haven't seen this level of sales activity this early in quite some time," said the track's Executive Vice President and General Manager, Jerry Gappens this week. "We are up an average of double digits between the two races. Our fans and families have been struggling for quite a while in this economy. I take this as a sign that the recovery is underway."
Susan Colby, Vice President of guest services at NHMS said ticket sales for July's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 are up 4% from last year, with sales for the SYLVANIA 300 in September up a whopping 19%. "When times are tight for fans, one of the first things people cut from their budget is vacations and summertime extras," said Colby. "We are thrilled to see them coming back in big numbers." She added that increased sales of camping space and pre-race pit passes are also a good sign that fans have more discretionary funds this year than in the past.
Those statistics also speak well for the hard work being done at venues like NHMS to entice fans back through the gates. Speedway management conducted an aggressive, off-season ticket campaign, with mailers and email reminders to regular customers, as well as aggressive public relations efforts to keep Loudon in the spotlight for locals and fans.
"Strong sales don't just happen," said Gappens. "In this environment, you have to work harder to bring fans to the speedway. We use every tool at our disposal, from traditional media and mailers to social media. We are thrilled with the results and hopeful the trend continues. I believe we are a barometer for economic activity and this is certainly a hopeful sign of recovery."
Gappens stressed that tickets are still available for both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at the Granite State oval, by calling (603) 783-4931. Specific seats can be requested through Feb. 1. After that date, all seats will be released to the public. Guests can also visit www.nhms.com for tickets and more information.