Come on in, Mike, the racing water’s fine

We read with interest Michael White’s recent column on auto racing. Naturally, as the owners of Riverhead Raceway, we have a definite interest in anything that has to do with the subject of auto racing. We have owned Riverhead Raceway since 1984 and promoted it since 1979. The track itself has been in existence for 61 years. We mention this because of Mr. White’s interest in creating something at Calverton that can “stand the test of time.” Sixty-one years is a long time, in any business or situation. It is particularly long in auto racing, a very tough, weather-related business.

Riverhead Raceway is a successful ongoing business that brings a great deal of pleasure to a great many people. It also brings a great deal of business to the Town of Riverhead. We were disappointed to see that although Mr. White seems to want to see auto racing in Calverton, the emphasized part of the article was, in our opinion, quite negative toward Riverhead Raceway. Naturally, that is the part from which most people get their impressions.

Just to clarify a few things, we also promoted Islip Speedway and we can say it did not run on Friday nights, as was stated in the column. It was always a Saturday night track. It also never had 10,000 people in attendance; it was smaller in circumference than Riverhead. At that time, Islip ran NASCAR on Saturday night and Riverhead ran on Friday night. Freeport Stadium mostly ran on Saturday, but not as NASCAR.

A super speedway at Calverton is certainly an exciting concept. However, we can say for certain that it would never run with a NASCAR sanction. NASCAR is always loyal to its “family” and Riverhead Raceway is a valued member of the NASCAR family. The idea of a NASCAR-sanctioned track at Calverton has already been evaluated and turned down by NASCAR. We were told this by Bill France Jr., president of NASCAR, who sadly is now deceased. However, his legacy lives on.

We know how much the Town of Riverhead values Tanger and the new aquarium and we sincerely hope that those two businesses will also be in existence for 61 years, but when Mr. White talks about “standing the test of time,” we think we have proven that.

Mr. White, as you said several times, you are not a race fan. You don’t understand it and have no interest in it. We can’t help but wonder if you have ever visited Riverhead Raceway. We would certainly like you to visit us some Saturday night and see what grassroots racing and grassroots race fans are all about. You might change your mind. It is all about family fun and family entertainment. It is also the only professional sport where everyone is invited into the pit area after the show to meet the drivers (who are the stars), get autographs, share stories, take photographs and just plain have fun.

In closing, we would like to mention how much NASCAR values its relationship with us, personally, and with Riverhead Raceway. We were proud to be asked to serve on the Inaugural Hall of Fame Committee in Charlotte, N.C. As many probably know, NASCAR has built a magnificent museum to auto racing there and we were there to vote on the first five inductees. It was truly a great honor that was bestowed upon us to serve in that capacity and to vote on these giants in this amazing industry.

We would like to thank Mr. White and the Riverhead News-Review for all the press we have received over the years. We certainly appreciate our long-standing relationship. Please feel free to come and visit us and enjoy a night of racing. Thank you for your time.

Mr. and Ms. Cromarty are the owners of Riverhead Raceway on Route 58.