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NASCAR moves New Hampshire 300 to November

The race becomes the Winston Cup season finale on the day after Thanksgiving.

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 14, 2001


Feeling it was too soon to go racing, NASCAR officials decided Thursday to postpone this weekend's Winston Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway.

The New Hampshire 300 will become the season finale Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.

NASCAR president Mike Helton said postponing Sunday's race was the respectful thing to do after Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon.

"It is time for families to come together," Helton said. "We felt that postponing this weekend's races was simply the right thing to do. We join the nation in mourning those who lost their lives, and we pray those wounded recover fully."

This marks the first time in NASCAR's 53-year history that a race date has been altered for anything other than a natural phenomenon such as rain, snow or wildfires.

"The fact the rescue effort is going to continue well into next week, if not beyond, is a good reason for NASCAR to make the decision it made today," driver Jeremy Mayfield said. "Our hearts and prayers remain with those who are working so hard to rescue the victims, and with those who are still to be rescued."

Driver Jeff Burton was looking forward to racing this weekend as a show of strength but understands the many factors NASCAR considered in reaching its decision.

"It makes me mad," Burton said of the attacks. "Part of my emotions in this thing is that I want to make sure that the idiots that did this don't win. ... That's part of my wanting to get back to normalcy. I want to just shove that back into the face of these idiots and show them that we are resilient.

"Certainly we want to pay respect to the victims, the families of the victims and to the whole country in general for what's happened. In the grand scheme of things, not running this weekend is probably the right thing to do."

All New Hampshire 300 tickets will be honored for the November event.

The Craftsman Truck series Silverado 350, scheduled for Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, will be Oct. 5 and remain a companion event to the Indy Racing League season finale, which has been moved to Oct. 6.

ANDRETTI EXPECTED TO MISS RACE: CART will proceed with Saturday's race in Germany without American Michael Andretti, who had not left the United States. Andretti was the only driver among the 26 scheduled to run who had not arrived in Klettwitz, Germany, site of CART's first race in Europe, series spokeswoman Alison Hill said. Most drivers left before U.S. flights were grounded. Andretti, who has a record 40 CART wins, is fourth in the series standings with six races left.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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