Magazine
    Next Score View the next score

    Globe Magazine

    Photo essay: A look at the loud, unpredictable action at Hudson Speedway

    Photographer Porter Gifford captures the action at the New Hampshire speedway — a gritty first stop up the ladder of professional racing.

    Dylan Fielding celebrates at the finish of the demolition-style Flagpole Race, held at the end of each racing day at New Hampshire’s Hudson Speedway.
    Porter Gifford
    Dylan Fielding celebrates at the finish of the demolition-style Flagpole Race, held at the end of each racing day at New Hampshire’s Hudson Speedway.

    Just an hour’s drive from Boston, the Hudson Speedway in pastoral Hudson, New Hampshire, showcases short-track racing at its primal best: loud, fast, and on the edge. On most summer Sundays, the deafening roar of engines upends the country quiet, as a motley collection of stripped-down stock cars is pushed as fast as the steep banks and cracked surface of the quarter-mile track allow. The crowds cheer for local favorites, as well as young, unknown drivers using Hudson as a first step up the racing ladder. Billed as “the original family fun track,” the stands at the 70-plus-year-old venue are filled with picnicking families, packs of local teens, and longtime racing fans who have stayed loyal to the track. The seats are plentiful, and with a pit pass you can get up close and personal with the drivers and their cars between races. Daytona it ain’t, and crashes happen. The result resembles a demolition derby at times, which is why a hastily painted message on the dashboard of one car sums it up: “Drive it like you stole it.”

    Advertisement

    The grandstand at the 70-plus-year-old auto race track in Hudson, New Hampshire.
    Porter Gifford
    The grandstand at the 70-plus-year-old auto race track in Hudson, N.H.

    Spectators take in the action at Hudson Speedway.
    Porter Gifford
    Spectators take in the action.

    Driver Kris Schroeder at the wheel.
    Porter Gifford
    Driver Kris Schroeder at the wheel.

    On most summer Sundays, the deafening roar of car engines upends the country quiet at the Hudson Speedway in New Hampshire.
    Porter Gifford
    On most summer Sundays, the deafening roar of car engines pierces the country quiet at the Hudson Speedway.

    The message on the back of a car sums up the DIY attitude of some drivers at Hudson Speedway.
    Porter Gifford
    The message on the back of a car sums up the DIY attitude of some drivers at Hudson Speedway.

    A mechanic at Hudson Speedway works on getting one car ready.
    Porter Gifford
    A mechanic works on getting one car ready.

    Driver Austin Erickson (shirtless) and his team make adjustments between races.
    Porter Gifford
    Driver Austin Erickson (shirtless) and his team make adjustments between races.

    Porter Gifford is a Cambridge native who, when not photographing people, places, or things, can be found walking his dog, playing hockey or not cleaning the basement. Send comments to magazine@globe.com. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.