A Day at the Track
Become an NHKA Member NHKA membership is not required, but it will save you registration time, save you $5 every race, and get you extra track time with the members-only morning warmup. What’s more, you need to be a member to earn points toward the season championship. Learn more by clicking here.
Gates Open at 7am If you’re new to NHKA, we suggest getting there a few minutes early to maximize your set-up time. Or you can arrive the night before (6-9pm) and camp… that way you can have your pit area ready to go in the morning.
Get Your Pit Pass When you pull into the main entrance of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, you’ll see a building just to the left of the big gate. Park and step up to the NHKA window to sign the waivers and get your pit pass bracelet ($15). Drivers who are minors must have a parent or guardian present.
Go to the Race Track Drive straight through the gate and pass the grandstands and speedway on your left. If we are racing the S3 Lot, you’ll see us on the right just after you pass by the tunnel to the speedway infield. If we are racing the Hill Course, we’ll be just a bit farther up on your left.
Set Up Your Pit Area An NHKA Official will direct you to the best available pit spot. Now it’s time to unpack and get ready for a day of racing.
Do You Need Fuel? Most people run pump gas from their local filling station. Some like to run the 110 octane race gas that is sold by the track. In the morning the track sends around a pick-up truck with 5 gallon cans for sale for cash… it’s easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled.
Put Your Transponder on Your Kart Now is the perfect time to put your scoring transponder onto your kart. Everybody forgets at some point… and there’s nothing worse than forgetting and getting scored in last place. Don’t own one? No problem, they are available for rent at registration.
Stop by Registration Stop by the registration table. If you’re an NHKA Racing Series member it’s simply a matter of signing the waiver and paying for your race entry. If you’re not a member, we’ll need you to also complete an entry form. While you’re at it, you can become a member right on the spot.
Get a Pre-Race Safety Inspection Every kart and helmet, at every event, needs a pre-race safety inspection before going out on track. You’ll push your kart on its stand to a designated area where an NHKA official will make sure your kart is safe and meets the requirements. Bring your helmet too. If you pass you’ll be given a sticker. If you don’t, you will beaten and publicly humiliated. Just kidding! You’ll be be given all the help you need to make your kart safe.
Go to Mandatory Drivers’ Meeting You’ll hear the latest info on the day’s schedule and procedures, as well as special announcements about the Series.
Figure Out Your Race Group For practice sessions and races, classes are put into groups by kart speed and driver age. There will be a sign posted near the pre-grid area.
Listen for Your Group to be Called to the Pre-Grid Unfortunately, we don’t have a public address system. We do try to remember the bull horn or shout, but race tracks are noisy places. Ultimately it’s up to you to get to the pre-grid on time for your practices and races. So keep an eye on the track and pay attention to other racers you know are in your group. You’ll catch on to the rhythm of the day. FYI: The pre-grid is the staging area in the pits right at the entrance onto the actual race track.
Practice Finally, it’s time for some fun! There are three practice sessions. The first is generally around 8:15am. This is more of a warmup for NHKA members. It’s all ages, so no hot laps. The second and third sessions are for everyone with the third session timed for qualifying…
Qualifying The final (and shortest) practice session of the day is timed qualifying to set the grid for the heat race. TIP: This is no time to race, try to get a bit of track to yourself for a flying lap. After you get the checkered flag, pull up to the scales. An NHKA official will weigh you and your kart together.
Inspect Your Kart You’ve put some laps on your kart, before you race it’s wise to look it over to make sure nothing came loose or broke.
“Oh $%#+! It’s Broken!” Don’t panic. There are kart shops at the track who are there with the parts and expertise to keep you out there racing. You can also ask another more experienced racer for advice. Everyone is eager help you have a great experience so you become an NHKA regular.
Heat Race Listen for the announcement, then head up to the pre-grid as soon as the group before yours goes out onto the track. An NHKA official will grid everyone based upon qualifying times. There will be one “out lap” before you get the green flag. Typically drivers run the first 2/3 of the out lap at about 80% of racing speed to put some heat in the tires, then grid back up nice and tight the last 1/3 of the lap to take the green. Make sure you go to the scales when it’s over. And don’t worry, those butterflies will disappear the instant you put the hammer down.
Mind Your Racing Manners This is racing, it’s pretty much every driver for him or herself, but there are some unwritten rules that are good to know.
BE PREDICTABLE: Everyone is out there going as fast as they can, they aren’t expecting to fly up on someone going slow or drifting around while they adjust their carburetor or helmet strap.
DON’T HOLD UP FASTER KARTS: This is especially true if the leaders are lapping you. It’s up to them to get by you safely. Just hold your line, and point to where and when you want them to go by, and remember 2nd and 3rd might be coming through with the leader. Then try to follow them and learn.
BE AWARE OF WHO IS AROUND YOU: Unless you have the peripheral vision of an owl, you’re gonna need to turn your head every now and then. For example, if you flub a corner take a look before you jump back onto the racing line… you might be surprised to find somebody right there!
IF SOMETHING BREAKS, PUT A HAND IN THE AIR: And keep it there until you’ve made your way to safety.
RACE HARD BUT NOT OVER YOUR HEAD: It’s okay to push your limits and make mistakes. But if you take out another racer, don’t expect them to be very happy about it. And if you repeatedly run off the track and hit cones and stuff, plan on a word from the race director.
Final Race This race is the only on-track session that counts for championship points. The procedure is exactly the same as the heat race, the only difference is that the final will be a few laps longer. Don’t forget to cross the scales when it’s over.
Consider Helping to Take Apart the Track Gathering up the barriers and cones at the end of the day is done mostly by volunteers. It is never expected, but always appreciated! It’s a great way to connect with the core NHKA community.
Hit the Showers This racing is a sweaty, greasy business. If you’d like to wash up before hitting the road, stop by the new building next to the S3 lot for a free shower.
While at the Track…
QUIET TIME: No starting race engines before 8:05am.
RACE FUEL: Sold in 5 gallon cans by the track from a pick-up truck cruising the pits.
KART PARTS AND SERVICE: There is always at least one kart shop at every race.
RESTROOMS & FREE SHOWERS: In the new building near the S3 Lot.
SKATEBOARDS, BIKES AND SCOOTERS: Only when there are no on-track activities.
OVERNIGHT CAMPING: $25 payable to track when you get your pit pass. Friday night entrance to the track is 6-9pm. There are no RV hookups. Grills and small fires are permitted.
ELECTRICITY: Very limited, a small generator is suggested.
FOOD SERVICE: Breakfast, lunch and ice are available at the infield restaurant. The hours can vary, so ask at the gate. Sometimes they open a stand nearby. There are also a couple well-stocked convenience stores right outside the track to the south, and a number of restaurants a bit farther in either direction.
GARAGES: There are no garages to rent.
PETS: Leashed pets are allowed.
ALCOHOL: Consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted when all on-track activities are completed for the day.
TRANSPONDER RENTAL: Ask at registration.