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Town Board approves four drag racing events at EPCAL for 2022

Drag racing will return to the Enterprise Park at Calverton this year, as the Riverhead Town Board on Wednesday approved four events that will span multiple weekends from spring through fall.

Promoter Andre Baxter’s “Scrambul: Cold Fusion” will take place March 5-6 with a rain date of March 12-13. 

The vote to approve the special permit was not unanimous. Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Councilman Tim Hubbard voted against it. Ms. Aguiar insisted the event be sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association and Ms. Hubbard wanted Jersey Barriers to be installed along the drag strip. Councilmen Frank Beyrodt, Ken Rothwell and Bob Kern voted in favor.

The other racing promoter, Pete Scalzo, received unanimous approval for three special events.

The first event is called “Race Track Not Street 2022 Spring Classic.” It will begin April 2 and conclude April 16. The races will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Town Board also approved the “Racetrack Not Street 2022 Summer Classic,” which will take place on four consecutive weekends starting Aug. 20 and closing Sept. 10. The event was originally scheduled to conclude on Sunday, Sept. 11, but Mr. Scalzo agreed to move that date to Friday, Sept. 9. Rain dates are Sept. 17-18.

The Saturday races will run from 1 to 10 p.m. and the Sunday races run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The final event will be held in early fall and called “2022 Fall Classic Race Track Not Street.” It will run on consecutive weekends beginning Sept. 24-25 and conclude Oct. 15-16. The events will all run from 1 to 4 p.m.

The special event permits, which carry a $650 fee, were voted on without a public hearing. 

Several speakers Wednesday asked why there were no hearings, since the board has discussed having public hearings at its work session two weeks ago.

Ms. Aguiar said the board did not “promise” there would be a hearing, as one speaker had said, and the hearings are not required on special event applications. She the public can still have input on the applications by speaking at board meetings or writing letters.

Kathy McGraw of Northville said one of the dates, April 16, is within the window the State Department of Environmental Conservation had said was a bird nesting date. 

Mr. Scalzo said he spoke to Rob Marsh of the DEC and Byron Young of the Audubon Society. He said he was told that bird nesting seasons used to begin in May but have changed on Long Island recently. 

“I’m always willing to compromise,” Mr. Scalzo said. 

The races will take place on the taxiway of the 10,000-foot runway, Mr. Scalzo said. There will be no racing on the runway.

Last year, the races were on the 7,000-foot runway, but the town has an agreement with Insurance Auto Auctions to store flooded cars on that runway.