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New Hampshire Motor Speedway kicks off big summer in Boston

Posted by Leonard Neslin  June 13, 2011 04:38 PM

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Professional auto racers Dario Franchitti and Juan Pablo Montoya visited Boston Common Monday to promote New Hampshire's upcoming races. Franchitti and Montoya drove their respective cars down Charles Street toward Beacon Hill. (Video by Lenny Neslin/Boston.com)

Auto racing stars Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti made a pit stop in Boston Monday to promote their upcoming NASCAR and IndyCar races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Franchitti, a Scottish IndyCar star and winner of the first Twin 275 race this weekend in Texas, had walked in Boston Common before, but didn’t expect a chance to drive an IndyCar around it.

“I lived in Boston for a while and spent quite a bit of time walking in this park,” Franchitti said. “I didn’t think I’d ever be driving an IndyCar down the main street here — not without getting arrested anyway. We’re really looking forward to coming back to New Hampshire.”

Montoya added, “I’ve been around a lot of streets in the world and driven a lot of cars on streets, it’s exciting.”

NHMS, based in Loudon, is known as “The Magic Mile,” and stretches 1.058 miles in an oval configuration with variable banking between 2-7 degrees. Montoya will race in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 on July 17 at 1 p.m. Franchitti races Aug. 14, in the newly named MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225.

Jerry Gappens, executive VP and general manager of NHMS, announced the title sponsorship today.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, along with Gappens, Montoya, Franchitti and ESPN analyst Allen Bestwick, spoke to the media at Cheers in Boston after the MoveThatBlock.com sponsorship announcement and race car presentation.

Randy Bernard

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard poses in front of an IndyCar flanked by MoveThatBlock.com’s Pat Gray and Todd Drowlette. (Lenny Neslin/Boston.com)

Bernard started as CEO for IndyCar 15 months ago, he said, and discussed how his sport needs to differentiate itself from NASCAR and F1.

“What we need to hang our hat on is the fact that we have the fastest and most versatile race cars and race car drivers in the world,” said Bernard, who worked closely with Gappens to bring IndyCar back to NHMS. “Jerry was very instrumental in that. We were able to negotiate a deal very quickly and low and behold here we are."

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