New Hampshire International Speedway saw more than 8,000 RVs in 2003.

LOUDON, N.H. (AP) – The New Hampshire International Speedway will charge a parking fee for recreational vehicles this year during NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races.

For years, the speedway has allowed racing fans with RVs to camp out on its 1,000-acre property at no charge for several days.

But after being overwhelmed by more than 8,000 large vehicles last year, track officials have decided to charge a fee for RVs and towed campers. This year’s series is scheduled for July 22-25.

The fee will be $100 in advance and $125 at the gate. The money will help pay for lighting, more security, and busing for fans who must park their cars off-site.

“We’re certainly aware of the cost involved to the fans, and we’re doing our best to keep the cost down,” spokesman Ron Meade said. He said that the new RV fee is “among the lowest” of other tracks in the country.

The speedway doesn’t charge a fee for cars.

Fans had mixed reactions to the announcement.

Aaron Stanick of Nashua said he was unhappy with the new fee, but added that he probably will attend the races, anyway. He has been to races at the speedway since 1992 and has been camping on the grounds for the past three years.

“We’re doing the track a favor,” Stanick said. “I go with a minimum of four to six people, and that’s four less vehicles that need parking.”

Beth Gower of Salem said she and her family may no longer show up.

“We’re simple working people who enjoy racing and have always appreciated what we had at NHIS,” she said. “My gut feeling is that many of us will swallow our tickets. And we won’t go. Our seats will be empty in protest.”

AP-ES-01-05-04 0908EST

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