At 7:30 a.m. on a cool windy morning in Loudon, NH the infield gates of the largest sports facility in New England rolled open and allowed competitors from the NEMST to enter for their first look at the stage for the most talked about race of the season.
NEMST officials had the technical inspection area setup and engines began to fire to warm up the cars for a challenge none of the teams had ever faced. The morning started off cool but the sun quickly burned through the clouds and made for a beautiful April day.
At about 9:30 in the morning the cars of Danny Field, Nik Skillings, Desmond Skillings, and Mike Parker took their machines out onto turn 1 and 2 of the NASCAR oval for some laps around the quarter-mile mini oval that has only ever seen INEX Legends competition. The cars took the oval fairly well despite their setups being drastically altered for road course preparation later on in the day. A total of 3 practice sessions took place on the mini oval with Ricky Labrecque of Antrim, NH laying down the fast lap time in the 17.3 second range.
After an hour lunch break the track was reopened with the 1.6 mile road course fully setup and ready for laps to be made. Joining the previous cars were Justin King, Cris King, Loren Smith, Billy Osborne, and John Kelly. Cars ran 3 slow laps to learn the corners and layout of the configuration.
The cars quickly opened up the throttles and started pacing the track at times in the 1:30 range consistently. During the first session several cars were running with each other making this preview for the race draw attention of all onlookers at alarming speeds.
With speeds of well over 100MPH at the end of the long NASCAR front straightaway and high g-forces throught the twisting right and left corners of the chicanes coupled with many elevation changes around the entire course a few of the vehicles experienced transmission issues. While other cars noticed clutch and flywheel issues due the increased wear and abuse the mechanical systems see during road racing events.
By the end of the day many of the drivers were getting the hang of tossing the cars around the corners and using all of the pavement available to drop lap times into the low 1:25 second range and increasing speeds in all sections of the track. The review of the track and day by all drivers was the same, “EXCELLENT” said all of the teams that participated. With the race date for this legendary event less then 1 month away teams from all over New England are preparing their cars more then ever for the first race of the 2012 NEMST season. For any additional NEMST Info please visit http://www.northeastministocktour.com and like us on facebook to see all of the images of the event.