Riverhead Board Allows New Drag Races at EPCAL Over Residents’ Objections

Riverhead is greenlighting four drag racing events scheduled for later this year.

The races will take place at Enterprise Park in Calverton after being approved at the Wednesday meeting of Riverhead Town Council. Several residents expressed concerns about noise disturbance in their neighborhoods and environmental concerns about the effect of the events on EPCAL property.

Similar concerns were raised last year when the board approved drag racing at EPCAL which took place in September. The board anticipated the event would bring in about $10,000 in rental fee revenue for the city, according to Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar.

The board voted 5-0 to approve a three-race series, led by Peter Scalzo of Sarasota, Florida.

The first series will take place on April 2, 3, 9, 10 and 16. The second will take place on August 20, 21, 27 and 28, and September 3, 4, 9 and 10. The third series will take place on September 24 and 25, 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 Oct.

The board voted 3-2 to approve the fourth event, hosted by Andre Baxter of Hempstead-based Scrambul, Inc., March 5-6.

Aguiar and Councilman Tim Hubbard voted against the fourth event, citing concerns he would not use guardrails, which are recommended under guidelines from the National Hot Rod Association, a racing governing body. of dragsters.

“The Scalzo events are sanctioned by the NHRA, and because of the [lack of] obstacles and the lack of racing experience, the [NHRA] would not sanction the other event,” Aguiar told Newsday on Thursday. “We are a self-insured city and we need to make sure we maintain the highest safety protocols for drag racing.”

Baxter did not immediately return requests for comment.

As for the ‘yes’ vote for other events, Aguiar said she felt last year’s inaugural races ‘went very well’ and proved to be ‘an economic generator’ for businesses. locations of event attendees.

“Hotels were full, restaurants were full, every deli on Sound Avenue was running out of food,” Aguiar said.

Scalzo, who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, said he was prepared to move race dates to avoid races falling on dates such as 9/11, which Hubbard asked him to withdraw .

Some residents raised concerns about noise affecting nearby homes, the environmental impacts of holding the races on EPCAL property, and the fact that the council had not held formal public hearings into the races.

“We have to recognize that there was a deep division within the community, especially for people who lived in the neighborhoods close to the races,” said John McAuliff, of Rolling Woods, member of EPCAL Watch, who has suggested that the resolutions be tabled.

Comments are closed.