Drag racing is coming back to LI: ‘Race Track, Not Street’ event draws large crowds to Calverton

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More than 1,000 spectators watched the streetcars hurtle down an unused track at Enterprise Park in Calverton on the inaugural weekend of the “Race Track, Not Street” drag racing event.

The eight-day, four-weekend race series began on Saturday with an opening ceremony in which supervisor Yvette Aguiar issued a proclamation on August 21 declaring “Drag Racing Day” at Riverhead and honoring Long Island Needs. a Drag Strip, a Facebook group created in 2019 with more than 20,000 members advocating for the creation of a motorsports park on Long Island.

“Thanks to everyone for coming and to everyone who believed it could be done. We did it,” said John Cozzali of Long Island Needs a Drag Strip. “It was a joint effort. It’s not just the Long Island Needs a Drag Strip volunteers, it’s all of you here who supported us, kept the dream alive, and we thank you.

The group presented awards to Aguiar, thanking her and the city council for “making history by bringing drag racing back to Long Island” and to Peter Scalzo, Maree Moscati and Tom Wilson for making their mark. story by organizing the event.

A diverse set of 207 cars, old and new, raced on the track on Saturday, Scalzo said. There were no complications.

In attendance were members of City Council, Representative Lee Zeldin, MP Jodi Giglio, Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. and County Legislator Leslie Kennedy, among others.

“It’s a long time coming and I am truly grateful that after all of this hard work by thousands of Long Islanders, Riverhead City Council, under the direction of a new city supervisor, has done today a reality and it’s a spectacle that I hope we will see forever, ”Zeldin said.

Riverhead Idol contest winner Olivia Meyer sang “God Bless America” during the colors presentation. Long Island native Sal Valentinetti, who came in fifth in America’s Got Talent Season 11, sang the national anthem.

Aguiar rolled down the track in a shiny red 1939 classic Hudson to break the ribbon during the opening ceremony. In the passenger seat was Lisa Pickersgill, the daughter of former Business Improvement District President Ray Pickersgill, who died of COVID-19 last year.

The first race was between Jason Dobie, 6, and Billy Madden, 7, two junior runners.

The second race was between City Councilor Ken Rothwell and Town Hall Network and Systems Administrator Henry “Chip” Kreymborg. Kreymborg was victorious.

The remainder of the series will feature night races on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. and day races on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the weekend of September 11. Spectators can start arriving at 8 a.m. for daytime events and 1 p.m. for night-time events.

Today’s event has been canceled due to Hurricane Henri and will be postponed to the September 18 rain date as a daytime event, Scalzo said. The other rainy date is a daytime event on September 19.

Tickets for runners are $ 50 which includes admission. Tickets for adult spectators cost $ 25, while children 10 and under can enter for free. General spectator parking is free and bleachers are set up next to the track for seating. Spectators wishing to park in the pit area next to the track and tailgate during the event will have to pay $ 15 per vehicle.

Tickets must be purchased online at the event website and cannot be purchased at the door.

Rules and regulations for runners and spectators are posted on the event website. The event is sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Alek Lewis

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