Racing Fan Rachel Gilbert Celebrates 100th Birthday With Pace Car Ride Around New Hampshire Motor Speedway


Rachel Gilbert of Laconia, N.H., celebrated her 100th birthday on Tuesday, and proved that she has no intentions of slowing down just yet.

The lifelong racing fan received a surprise NASCAR-themed birthday pack from her family, including suite passes to the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 race on July 17, official NASCAR gear — including a signed shirt from Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards – and a trip around the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a track pace car.

"This was such a surprise," Gilbert said.  "I had such a great teacher, I loved it."

Gilbert was accompanied by the speedway's executive vice president and general manager, Jerry Gappens, who rode shotgun during her drive around the track.

"Rachel is a true pace setter," Gappens said. "We wanted to take the opportunity and celebrate this special occasion with her and her family."  

In addition to her seats overlooking the "Miracle Mile" for the LENOX 301, Gilbert will also get the opportunity to meet the NASCAR Sprint Series' stars, as she will also receive tickets to the Sunday morning drivers' meeting.

When Gilbert found out about the surprise celebration on Tuesday, was immediately ready to leave for the Loudon track, eager to live out her lifelong dream.

"My mom has always been a major race fan. She doesn't miss a race on TV," said Gilbert's daughter Marie Anne Mills. "I was more nervous than she was. This was so wonderful."