It was also the year that NASCAR’s premier series debuted at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with Rusty Wallace driving to Victory lane on July 11, 1993.
Sunday, “The Magic Mile” will celebrate the 20th anniversary of that historic first race with the LENOX Industrial Tools 301, paced by New England’s own Ricky Craven.
“I watched as the track was being built – competed in its first event and celebrated a few times in victory lane,” said Craven, a native of Newbergh, Maine and a two-time winner in NASCAR’s top series. “The 20th anniversary represents a great opportunity for all of us to reflect on the many races and events. I’m proud to have been a member of several and I’m excited to be coming home.”
Craven will drive the track’s Toyota Camry pace car, leading the field around the 1.086-mile oval before the green flag drops. Craven is currently an ESPN in-studio analyst for the “NASCAR Now” show and a part-time color analyst for the Nationwide Series. He retired from full-time racing in 2004, ending his career with two wins, 17 Top-5 and 41 Top-10 finishes. He also earned six-career poles, two of them coming in New Hampshire.
There have been 14 different winners in the 19 July races since Wallace edged Mark Martin in the inaugural Slick 50 300 at NHMS, including Jeff Burton (three times), Tony Stewart (twice), Jimmie Johnson (twice) and Kurt Busch (twice), all of whom will be in the field Sunday.