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Former New Hampshire Motor Speedway owner Bob Bahre dies at 93

Bob Bahre

Staff Photo by Gordon Chibroski, Friday, July 9, 2004: Bob Bahre shares a warm moment as he talks about the love and concern he received from Maine Medical Center and his circle of business and social relationships after his serious car accident about five months ago. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

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Bob Bahre, who built New Hampshire Motor Speedway and also formerly owned Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine, has died. He was 93.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway opened in 1990. NASCAR ran its first Cup race there in 1993. Rusty Wallace won that first race. Kevin Harvick and NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton each share the track record for most Cup wins with four. The Cup Series races there next on Aug. 2.

Bahre was known in the racing community for his generosity, often providing tow money to competitors who failed to make races.

Bahre purchased half of North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1995 and moved one of the track’s dates to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, giving it a second date. Bruton Smith purchased the other half of North Wilkesboro Speedway and moved that date to Texas Motor Speedway.

Bahre and his son Gary sold New Hampshire Motor Speedway to Speedway Motorsports in 2007 for $340 million.

Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports Executive Chairman, said: “Bob Bahre was a true pioneer for motorsports in New England. He wanted to grow our sport and build things that people will remember. He was a smart businessman and I have a lot of respect for that, but I have even more respect for the positive impact he had on people. I’ll pray for Sandy and Gary during this tough time, and I know they are proud of the legacy Bob leaves behind.”

Marcus Smith, Speedway Motorsports President and CEO said of Bahre: “What I’ll remember most about Bob Bahre will be his character, understated yet charming. Every time I saw him he had on khakis and a white shirt. I always enjoyed our genuine conversations. He was very generous to people in the motorsports industry and to the New England communities where he did business. He went about things in a quiet, dignified manner and often times that simple approach is the most impactful. It’s truly an honor to have known Bob. He lived a meaningful life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. ”

David McGrath, NHMS executive vice president and general manager, said of Bahre: “On behalf of our team at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, I’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Sandy, Gary and the entire Bahre family. Bob left an incredible mark on auto racing through the New England region, and his love of motorsports was legendary. He had a passionate commitment to both drivers and race fans, and that commitment was evident when he built our facility in 1990. I am proud to have known Bob. It was a true pleasure to have spent time getting to know him and learning from him over the years. He will be missed, but his legacy of supporting and building motorsports in New England will live on forever.”