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NH leaders beg Bruton to keep both Cup races
Business leaders from across the state are asking New Hampshire Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith to keep both NASCAR races at the track that has hosted them since 1997. Last week, 44 business leaders sent the letter to Smith, who will find out later this month whether NASCAR will sanction the move of a race from one of his tracks, possibly New Hampshire, to another NASCAR track.

"We welcome back the IndyCar race scheduled to take place in July 2011 and hope that we will continue to host two NASCAR races for many years to come. Their impact on our local economy is not lost on any of us and we do not take it for granted,'' the letter reads.

Studies have shown each of the races, which attract about 100,000 fans, have an economic impact between $80 million and $100 million on the state's economy.

Jerry Gappens, general manager of the Speedway, said that the letter was "heartwarming and encouraging'' and Smith greatly appreciated the expression of support.

Smith has made major upgrades to the track's facilities over the last two years, and Gappens said he has no indication from Smith that he intends to move a race from New Hampshire.

Gappens said he understands the concerns of business leaders about retaining two Cup races and their understanding of the role the Speedway plays as an economic engine for the state.

NASCAR is currently considering realignment requests from both Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp., another owner of multiple tracks. NASCAR plans to announce next year's Sprint Cup series schedule later this month, according to NASCAR Chairman Brian France.

SMI has not announced any part of its realignment request. SMI has two Cup Series races at Charlotte, N.C.; Bristol, Texas; New Hampshire and Atlanta. The company hosts one at Las Vegas and Infineon.

It doesn't have a Cup date at Kentucky Speedway, which SMI bought last year.

Smith also has said that he wants to add another Cup race at Las Vegas, where a convention and visitors bureau group has offered him $8 million to bring a second race to a 160,000-seat track there. More at UnionLeader.com

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