Following a multi-year fundraising project, construction on the museum will begin this fall, with a planned opening scheduled for September of 2016. In celebration, for the first time ever, all four New England based drivers who have won at NASCAR’s top level, were together at the same time, as Pete Hamilton, Ron Bouchard, Ricky Craven and Joey Logano all stood in front of a huge crowd of more than 250 people.
“This vision began more than 15 years ago – to put the deep, rich history of motorsports of all kinds into a museum in New England,” said Dick Berggren, president of the North East Motor Sports Museum. “We wouldn’t be here without the help of Speedway Motorsports Executive Chairman Bruton Smith. His willingness to sign a 90-year lease for one dollar a year is the reason we are all here today.”
Berggren, Bouchard, Craven, Logano, Andy Cusack, Bentley Warren, Ken Smith, Skip Matczak, Dave Frahm, Frank Manafort, Bill Manafort, and Paula Bouchard (in memory of her father, Ed Flemke) assisted in the groundbreaking, which took place on speedway property near the south entrance.
Marcus Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Bruton Smith, Executive Chairman of SMI, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway VP/GM Jerry Gappens were also in attendance.
“The large crowd assembled here today shows how supportive fans are to the sport of racing in this region,” said Marcus Smith. “Racing is about family, friends and having a good time with stories to share. This museum will ensure that those stories are told for years to come for not only fans today, but the future fans of tomorrow.”
New Hampshire political dignitaries present included Chuck Morse, Senate President for the State of New Hampshire and Bob Krieger, selectman for the town of Loudon.
“So much credit has to be given to Dick Berggren and his perseverance to stand strong through a tough economy and see this all the way through,” said Gappens. “This could have been built anywhere, but the fact that it’s being built here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway means the world to us. We look forward to supporting this as best we can moving forward.”
The museum will be built in two phases with the first being 10,000 square feet with an additional 10,000 square feet being added at a later date. The building will be used to house the history of motorsports from the Northeast area with multiple displays of racing vehicles and racing related artifacts. Construction will begin as soon as practical following the groundbreaking.