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IndyCar makes it official - returning to Loudon
Most of the massive New Hampshire grandstand seats will be empty when the IRL returns unless there is a massive ticket giveaway
The "Fastest Race in the World" will return to the Granite State in 2011 when the IZOD Indy Car Series returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials announced today. The race will be held on July 30, 2011.

"We're pleased to restore an Indy car short oval to the schedule to further increase our diversity of venues," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series. "As evident last weekend in Iowa, our cars produce tremendous racing on short ovals. Additionally, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is strategically located in the Northeast, which fills a geographical gap in our schedule. I have to thank Bruton Smith and Jerry Gappens for giving us a great opportunity here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway."

Bernard was joined by Speedway Motorsports Inc., founder and chief executive officer O. Bruton Smith, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway in making the official announcement.

Two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti demonstrated the more than 200 mph speed that New Hampshire Motor Speedway will see with a three-lap run during pre-race ceremonies.

"This is a three year deal in the making," said Jerry Gappens executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. "As an Indiana native and a fan of open-wheeled racing, I strongly believe that the people of New Hampshire will embrace this new breed of speed much like they do NASCAR."

New Hampshire Motor Speedway played host to one of the five Indy Racing League events in its inaugural year (Aug. 8, 1996) with Scott Sharp taking the checkered flag. It also was the site of Robbie Buhl's first victory (Aug. 17, 1997) and Tony Stewart's third (June 28, 1998). CART sanctioned races on the variably-banked (2 to 7 degrees) oval from 1992 to '95.

One of the IZOD IndyCar Series most popular driver, Danica Patrick, was at NHMS this weekend behind the wheel of a stock car. She showed her enthusiasm at the series adding another oval to the Indy schedule.

" I think it is very positive addition to our schedule, especially because it is in the northeast," she said.

New Hampshire International Speedway, which opened in 1990, was purchased in 2008 by Smith from Bob and Gary Bahre and renamed New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It is about an hour north of Boston and, according to the most recent census, more than 18 million people live within two hours of the picturesque venue.

Tickets for the IZOD IndyCar Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway go on sale Monday June 28, 2010. Prices range from $35-$75.

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