(Host) Vermont’s tourism industry is kicking off its new fall foliage campaign this week with an unusual promotion.
As VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports, they’re sponsoring Lt. Governor Phil Scott’s new race car at a big event in New Hampshire, to highlight the fact that Vermont is open for business this fall.
(Kinzel) That’s the sound of Lt. Governor Phil Scott’s new race car. He’s doing practice laps at Barre’s Thunder Road to prepare for an important race this weekend.
The metallic green car is decorated with a number of Vermont messages. On the hood there’s a big sign that says "We are Vermont Strong," and most members of the state’s tourist industry are represented on the car.
Scott refrained from racing after tropical storm Irene hit the state and wasn’t going to race at the New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend, but he changed his mind after meeting with Vermont travel officials.
(Scott) "As I reflected, I thought maybe we should – as other people are doing throughout the state – maybe we should make lemonade out of lemons and see what we can do about promoting the state…For some people we’re in recovery but other sectors in Vermont that weren’t affected are certainly ready, willing and able to take those tourism folks and showcase Vermont."
(Kinzel) Scott thinks his car will draw a lot of attention at this NASCAR event and help promote Vermont tourism.
(Scott) "They enjoy a broad viewership and also there’s 100,000 people that are going to be coming to the track itself this coming weekend, so with the Boston market – which is important to us as well – we need to send the message that we’re here and we’re strong."
(Kinzel) Scott says the track at Thunder Road and the one in New Hampshire are totally different. The Barre facility is a quarter mile track – the New Hampshire Speedway is a mile and he says this sets up some very different dynamics.
(Scott) "You’d be racing four a breast down there at New Hampshire at speeds of up to 150 miles an hour and here at Thunder Road you might do 80, 85. So it’s not twice the speed but close to it and when things happen they happen fairly quick so you have to be on your toes, and I raced there before so it’s not totally foreign to me."
(Kinzel) Scott is trying to squeeze in some additional practice time before this weekend’s race. He says he’s trying to keep his expectations in check but he also says that he’s a very competitive driver and that he hopes to make a strong showing at this event.
For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel at Thunder Road.