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The owner of New Hampshire Motor Speedway said Thursday he will consider moving next year's summer race if Loudon's police chief doesn't cut the cost for providing safety details. NHMS owner Bruton Smith said that if he can't reach a compromise with the town on security costs, he may move next June's race from New Hampshire.
"The dates are scheduled year to year with contracts with NASCAR," said Jerry Gappens, NHMS vice president. "There is the option of doing that. Let's hope it doesn't come to that option." Gappens said Loudon charges too much to organize security, and Loudon's police chief makes too much doing it. He said Chief Robert Fiske makes $50 per hour, amounting to almost $59,000 for covering the races over five years. NHMS is asking Loudon to reduce its price tag for June's upcoming race from $170,000 to $65,000.
"No, we're not prepared to do that," said Loudon Selectman Roger Maxfield. "The answer is no, we won't." Maxfield said he thinks $170,000 to cover an influx of 100,000 people is reasonable, as is Fiske's hourly rate.
"He's also in control of 80 full-time officers, so that's a large detail," Maxfield said. NHMS has suggested cutting 38 police officers from its camp grounds and replacing them with private security guards supported by a few officers. Fiske said that plan isn't in the best interest of public safety. "The crime is consistent with a city of that size," he said. "We have alleged rapes and assaults, let alone the DWIs." wmur.com
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