New Hampshire Motor Speedway: What is the secret behind the “Magic Mile” nickname?

New Hampshire Motor Speedway: What is the secret behind the “Magic Mile” nickname?
Credits: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Many NASCAR racetracks have been nicknamed because of their history – But what’s behind the “Magic Mile” in Loudon, New Hampshire?

Dear NASCAR fans,

“Monster Mile,” “Lady in Black,” “The Track Too Tough to Tame,” “Paperclip,” “The Brickyard,” and “The Tricky Triangle”: NASCAR racetracks in the US like to be given nicknames when their history adds special value or the characteristics of the course are something special. But what is it about the New Hampshire Motor Speedway that is repeatedly referred to as the “Magic Mile” in NASCAR lingo? What’s the magic behind the track and who came up with this nickname? I got to the bottom of it.

Let’s remember the Monday race at the track in 2023 that Martin Truex Jr. won. Pete Fink and I sat in the commentator’s booth for Germany TV and got to commentate on the exciting race on the oval at Loudon. Neither of us knew why the track was called the Magic Mile, and even the usually knowledgeable Internet had no explanation ready. Is it a marketing gimmick because it’s an alliteration, or is it the 0.58 miles that make the track a 1.058-mile oval?

Pete and I asked ourselves this question on Saturday before the actual race on Sunday, so I pulled out my smartphone and wrote a friendly query to the track’s media team. Unfortunately, because of the rain, the organization of the Monday race, and the amount of work people at the track had to do, the answer didn’t come in time, but it did. The racetrack answered, revealing yet another mystery to the NASCAR world.

But before we get to the explanation, a little history lesson. New Hampshire Motor Speedway opened in its current form in 1990. Originally, the track was home to Bryar Motorsports Park before it was purchased and rebuilt by Bob Bahre. Today, a road course is still incorporated into the oval and the flat corners make the Magic Mile already special on the NASCAR calendar, but that’s nor the magic.

According to a track spokesperson, the term Magic Mile dates back to Bahre, who wanted to create a very special experience for fans. To get back to the roots, let’s travel to 1955 in Anaheim, California! Ring a bell? That were World Disney’s first theme park was located. It was later joined by numerous theme parks with spectacular attractions that captivate billions of people each year.

Bahre took this as a model and wanted to bring the magic of Walt Disney to motorsports. So the Magic Mile was to offer spectators a similarly magical experience to Disney World or Disney Land, and to do this the track operator at the time came up with something very special. All employees at the track even had to complete Disney employee training in order to offer racing fans a Disney-like experience.

So the name Magic Mile was born out of the desire to run a racetrack the way Walt Disney does with its numerous theme parks. And? Who would have thought that? Not me, at any rate! But only those who ask get an answer, and since this story already has something magical about it, I really wanted to share it with you.

André Wiegold

André Wiegold