Bob Bahre, a figurehead of racing in the Northeast best known as the founder of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, has passed away.
Along with his efforts to bring forth New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Bahre was a former owner at Oxford Plains Speedway alongside his brother Dick Bahre. Under Bahre’s leadership, the prestigious Oxford 250 originated as a 200-lap event in 1974 before expanding to its current 250-lap format.
Former NASCAR Cup Series race winner Ricky Craven, who cut his teeth racing in the northeast out of Maine, shared his thoughts upon the news of Bahre’s passing.
I am deeply saddened this morning…. having received a call informing that my friend and mentor Bob Bahre has passed,” said Craven. “Bob had a profound influence on my life!
“Bob Bahre Is and will always be somebody I looked up to. He frequently and routinely called me like clockwork over the last 30 + years. He always answered my call or returned my call before the day ended. He never offered advice, but always acknowledged my request for advice. He often praised me… He occasionally gave me hell… He could be frank, brutally honest, caring and concerning (all within the same conversation).”
While Bahre sold Oxford Plains Speedway in 1987, he would set his eyes on another lifelong dream. Bahre and his family purchased Bryar Motorsports Park, redeveloping the facility into New Hampshire International Speedway (now New Hampshire Motor Speedway). The track opened in 1990 and hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series event in 1993.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is now the host of several events for NASCAR’s premier divisions, as well as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, ARCA Menards Series East, American-Canadian Tour and more as part of the track’s Full Throttle Fall Weekend.
Meanwhile, the Oxford 250 remains one of the most prestigious Late Model events, not just in the Northeast but in the entire country. Bahre served as the event’s Grand Marshal for the 46th Annual Oxford 250 last August.
Before his days as a track owner, Bahre also owned a midget team in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was inducted into the New England Auto Racing (NEAR) Hall of Fame in 2009, as well as the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo