Walter: I never promised anyone a drag strip at EPCAL

07/18/2012 8:25 AM |

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter is denying that he told people at the Jamesport Fire Department carnival and parade that he would get them a drag strip in the Calverton Enterprise Park.

Marty Johnson, president of the Long Island Motorsports Association, said Mr. Walter was marching in the parade with the fire department and other Town Board members when someone from the audience asked a question and Mr. Walter allegedly said something to the effect of “I’ll get you a drag strip at EPCAL.”

Mr. Johnson has since posted this on Facebook and urged everyone to call the supervisor.

The Long Island Motorsports Association has long been advocating for a race track at the former Grumman naval weapons plant, now known as EPCAL, and several tracks have been proposed over the years. None have come to fruition.

Councilman Jim Wooten, who was marching alongside Mr. Walter, said he did recall the supervisor saying to someone at the parade, with regard to motorsports at EPCAL, something like: “I’m going to get you your quarter-mile track. I’ll get it for you.”

“I don’t know if he was doing that to appease them or whether there is any real plan for a quarter-mile track,” Mr. Wooten said. “I don’t know what he was talking about. It’s probably a non-issue. I wouldn’t put much stock in it.”

Mr. Johnson believes a lot of other people heard it, too.

But Mr. Walter denies that he promised anyone a drag strip.

“I don’t know what he’s thinking,” Mr. Walter said Tuesday. “I heard that rumor yesterday. It’s a big fat no. I never promised anybody a drag strip at EPCAL.”

He added, “I’ve made no bones about it. I like quarter-mile drag racing, but as far committing to have a drag strip at EPCAL, I never said that.”

Mr. Walter has said in the past that EPCAL’s proximity to Calverton National Cemetery, and the opposition of veterans groups to having a race track at EPCAL, have shaped his opinion on the issue.

Asked on Tuesday if there is no possibility of a drag strip at EPCAL, however, Mr. Walter said, “There’s always a possibility.”

But as for Mr. Johnson’s comments, he said, “This guy is just blowing smoke up your butt.”

tgannon@timesreview.com

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