The Granite State Legends and Bandoleros will kick off their 2019 season this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Mini Oval Series for the Legends will be sponsored by J&J’s Yolk & Co. The Road Course Series is sponsored by MOAT Mountain.
Race Director Tom Blanchette told 22News about the 2019 season, “We’re really excited about it this year. Our car count is up. We have more cars from further away coming to New Hampshire Motor Speedway to race here. Our oval is a bit tricky because it’s not the same corner on any corner unlike the other short tracks in New England. It really challenges the driver and the crew chief on the setup and their driving ability to get around this thing and be competitive.”
We have seen drivers over the years that moved into full-fendered cars get their start in a Legends and Bandolero. Go-Kart racing has been real preeminent at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for many years It has been a tier system. The youngsters that have been racing a go-kart since age four and get them into a bandolero at eight years old and they go from an open body go-kart to a closed body race vehicle with 30 horsepower that’s a Briggs and Stratton Motor custom to vehicle presence on the race track on who’s around them and where they are on the track.
Blanchette believes the step up from go-karts to bandoleros has been very important and it is also very cost effective. The Bandolero is actually cheaper than a go-kart and you can race them all over the country and start building a driver resume at the age of eight with the state, along with national and world championship point systems that INEX offers.
Blanchette believes as far as getting a youngster elevated to the next level in more ways than one is very important. One of the things the speedway has done in cooperation with the Public Relations, Digitial, and Social Media team is doing driver interviews for the top three finishers and doing interviews throughout the paddock which he thinks prepares them for the future very nicely and then stepping them up into a legends car.
Some of the drivers at 12 years old with a waiver have started racing Legends cars because they can get into a car with a lot of horsepower, a lot more chassis setup knowledge is needed. It is good for the driver and also for the dad or the crew members that are with them that might to go the next step of racing. It gives the driver the potential to go into an ACT Late Model or a PASS Super Late Model. It’s a very staged and progressive development and very controlled.
The INEX rulebook comes out of Harrisburg, NC officer and it is a pretty good foundation rulebook to build from at each one of the different racing venues where the bandoleros and the legends can get adjusted accordingly and that it keeps it a level playing field across the board.
The Granite State Legends will travel to tracks throughout the state. They will travel to Monadnock Speedway on May 25 and August 3. They will have a race at Speedway 51 in Groveton, NH on June 22 and two races at Claremont Motorsports Park on June 28 and September 1. Blanchette told 22News that his belief with this is not to make this grow into a touring series. He believes that the focus and efforts are to get the Legends and Bandoleros out in front of more short track racers. Also, that it is another affordable form of racing that can help develop a young racer and put them in the limelight and teach them how to do sponsor commitments and interviews and learn how to race a larger vehicle with more horsepower progressively versus maybe what was done in the past where a 15 or 16-year-old may run a four-cylinder car and move up into a Late Model and not have a whole lot of experience of racing with something with that much horsepower with a big body with limited vision.
The main focus with this program at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is driver development with the knowledge of the affordable race cars out to the masses and totally create a marketplace where these short tracks have their own Legends car division at each short track.
The Full Throttle Weekend will be returning in September at the Magic Mile featuring the Musket 250 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race as it will be the longest race of the season along with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the NASCAR Pinty Series out of Canada. The Legends will run a modified course that weekend because of the way the cars are constructed. The plan is to run of the chicane in turns 3 and 4 and then run on the south oval in turns 1 and 2. The feedback they have received from the veteran racers has been positive. This race event will be an INEX National Qualifier.
The MOAT Mountain Road Course Series will kick off this Saturday. The first event on the Mini oval will be held on Saturday, May 4.