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LOUDON, NH-In a deal that could represent the priciest single-asset real estate transaction in the state’s history, Speedway Motorsports Inc. has agreed to buy the New Hampshire International Speedway for $340 million. The 1,100-acre complex opened in 1990 and today can accommodate up to 92,000 spectators.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our company to grow our business as we continue to invest in this sport,” says O. Bruton Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports. The Charlotte, NC-based company will now own race tracks in the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and West, including facilities in four of the country’s top 10 metropolitan markets, with Boston/NH ranked seventh. Closing on the deal is anticipated by the end of the first quarter in 2008.

To maintain a consistent brand, the raceway will be recast as New Hampshire Motor Speedway by the new ownership. Existing operations for the group include Atlanta Motor Speedway; Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC; and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

The NH raceway is being acquired from Gary and Robert Bahre. Smith reports that Robert Bahre has been offered an opportunity to remain associated as a consultant with the track that he established nearly two decades earlier. Initially a blip on the professional racing circuit’s radar screen, Loudon has emerged in recent years as a venue for some of the sport’s top events, especially for Nascar-related races. Loudon today, for example, hosts the Nascar Busch East Series, its Grand National Division and the Whelan Modified Tour. Numerous amateur events and special programs for motorcycle racing are also held at the facility, which features a 1.1-mile oval speedway and 1.6-mile road course.

Smith cited the rapid ascension of racing in New England as a reason for making such a substantial investment. Besides a demographic of 18 million people within a 200-mile radius, Smith says the track is also expected to draw from fans residing in eastern Canada. Proximity to several major highways should help in accommodating such visitors, says Smith, whose group is planning to make a number of additions to the complex. As for the scope of the deal, commercial real estate brokers spoken with could not recall any single asset ever trading for more in the state than what New Hampshire International Speedway is slated to fetch.

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