LOUDON, N.H. — New Hampshire Motor Speedway won’t lead off the Chase for the Championship next year, but track officials and the governor of New Hampshire, in conjunction with NASCAR, announced Wednesday that it has retained both of its NASCAR Sprint Cup dates in 2011.

In addition, the track announced officially that it will also host an Izod IndyCar Series race in August.

With anticipated crowds exceeding the Super Bowl, Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series games, and even the Stanley Cup Playoffs , New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host the three the biggest sporting events in New England during its 2011 racing season.

“As we have seen for the past couple of months, these NASCAR Sprint Cup Series dates are special and highly coveted by various venues and cities across the country,” Executive Vice President and General Manager of the NHMS Jerry Gappens said in a release on the track’s website. “Though next year’s schedule realignment involved moving some dates from speedways that have hosted two NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends, I think it is fitting that (we) continue to host two NASCAR Sprint Cup races. Our two dates are directly a result of the incredible fan support we have in New England.”

The races will not fall on the same weekends as they have in the past, though. The speedway’s first race of the season, formerly in late June, will fall next season on July 17. The fall race, once the first race in NASCAR’s version of a playoff, will be the second race, and will fall next year on Sept. 25.

In addition to the two Sprint Cup races at NHMS, a IndyCar Series returns after a 13-year hiatus. On Aug. 14, open-wheel action, with speeds reaching up to 200 miles per hour, returns to the track.

“Because of the date changes with our NASCAR weekends, we had to move this much-anticipated event from its originally announced July 31 date to August 14,” Gappens said. “With this change, it gives fans from New England, Canada and across the country three consecutive months of major racing events. This will be a tremendous boost to the economic benefit the speedway provides and increase in tourism to our great state.”

Gappens also announced that there will not be a price increase for NASCAR events in 2011.

“In addition to not increasing prices for the past eight years, we have actually lowered ticket prices in several areas the past two years and offer interest-free payment plans, which offers several affordable options for our fans,” Gappens said.

The next major event scheduled for NHMS this season is the Sylvania 300 on Sept. 19, the first race in this year’s Chase for the Championship.

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