Drag Strip Advocates Push For Sound Test at EPCAL

Offers to pay for test out of his own pocket.

Drag racing advocates continue to lobby located at Enterprise Park at Calverton.

Marty Johnson, the founder and CEO of the Long Island Motorsports Association, said his vision for a drag strip at Enterprise Park at Calverton would provide an economic boon to Riverhead.

And, to quell fears of residents regarding potential sound impact, Johnson said a sound test should be commenced.

In recent weeks, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter has said one option for EPCAL could include a with a quarter mile track. But he added that the bottom line is that before any future use can be discussed for EPCAL, the subdivision process and environmental review by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation must be completed first, including a sound test.

The DEC, however, does not require a permit for a sound test.

"A sound test at the runway would be a great way for the people to see the noise issue is nonexistent," Johnson said this week, adding that no permits are required for a temporary use at the parcel.  "Why not have a sound test at my expense and let people stand on Route 25 and strain their ears, trying to hear nothing -- the made-up, killer sound -- then everyone's fears can finally be put to rest."

His vision for the site, Johnson said, includes a drag strip and a road course at EPCAL in Calverton similar to what once existed in Bridgehampton and Westhampton.

The plan for a temporary strip, he said, would take little time to execute. Should all forces align, Johnson said his organization would like to rent the space and the space at least temporarily for drag racing. Jersey barriers, or concrete walls, would have to be set up; Johnson said the operation could be up and running in weeks. 

A season is approximately four to five months, Johnson said. The rest of the year, the facility would be quiet, with grass that was mowed and no chemicals or fertilizer used, as is done at golf courses.

A motorsports facility, Johnson said, would be a win-win. "You would now have the draw in your backyard," he said. "What better opportunity to do something positive for the town?"

Walter did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the sound test issue.

Would you like to see drag racing at EPCAL? Do you think a sound test is a good idea? Tell us why, in the comments section.

arthur dzionek August 31, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Yes. Bringing a track to long island will bring revenue. Less street racing and finally bring a track to all the people that travel far to get to one. If we had a sound test the turn out would be tremendous and would prove that many people want a track and showing the neighbors of epcal that it'll be a organized and professional operation
HEMI-ITIS August 31, 2012 at 12:12 PM
When RHT thought they sold EPCAL,there was no sound test or land subdivision,now there is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,so be it LIMA will provide the funding for the sound test. The land subdivision will take RHT years,in the meantime,give us {LIMA} a one year permit to operate and you have a choice to renew in one year or not. This is a win/win for EVERYBODY!!!rental income for rht,a race track for thr "experiment".Not a shovel in the ground and the exsisting tarmack will be the racing surface.The problem,,,,,,,,,,,it's to damn easy,but RHT needs to pull thier heads out of the sand and see what this can do for the Calverton and surrounding ares.I wenr to New Jersey last weekend.Bought food at a supermarket nesr the track,stayed a local Hotel,ate dinner at a local resturant,had breakfast locally,then filled up my car and tow truck with fuel.That $1500 CASH that should have been spent in Riverhead.There were hundreds of people there.You could hear the anouncer{former employee of LI dragway} anounce all the racers from Long Island. Wake up RHT and smell the CASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
novadose August 31, 2012 at 12:14 PM
i dont understand why the sound test wasnt done ages ago.....either its noisey or its not....hell..im sure the jets taking off from that strip for years had to make more noise than the cars will.....either way ...a sound test will either put the fears aside...or end the lobbying of a drag strip.....i say....its about time...and i say ...do it
Art Bichsel August 31, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Long over due. Lets have the sound test already. Temporary use hurts no one. Benefits many. Subdivide or what ever and the "temporary" becomes gone. Why is this so hard?
Vince Taldone August 31, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Noise test. Try a stink test too! I live over one mile miles from Riverhead Raceway and can always hear the noise on racing nights and, depending on wind direction, I can sometimes smell the burning rubber and oil. But I bought my house knowing the raceway is there so I have no complaints about it. For folks who already live in Calverton, that is a very different story. They have a right to object and should fight like mad if they don't want the intrusion of sounds and smells.
ABetterWayforRiverhead August 31, 2012 at 03:22 PM
To Hemi-itis: Thank you for the "breakdown" of your cash flowing out of Riverhead. I am not a race fan, but I am cognizant that all of the race fans we have in the Town of Riverhead are spending their race-related monies elsewhere. I don't know the total local race population, but from my observations of car insignias and race attire, the number has to be in the thousands. Multiply that by a modest amount spent every year by fans traveling off Long Island and that adds up to a substantial number- an investment which could be realized here. Also imagine the draw EPCAL could be for race fans to the west of us. To the RHD Town Board Members- let the interested parties perform their due diligience and then you do yours!
George Oestel August 31, 2012 at 06:58 PM
the rich people out there always complain about the standard of living being interrupted by the noise from anything, racing wineries etc., but how about the poor people that have to hear their helicopters flying over the island so they don't have to drive back/out to the city!
John August 31, 2012 at 10:13 PM
I've said it before, build an NHRA legal track and it will bring a lot of money to the area. The top fuel, pro stock, and all classes of cars will come and the fans will follow, which means they will spend their money on hotels, restaurants, gas, convenience stores, etc. Besides giving a place for the kids to race instead of the streets. If sound becomes an issue, which it shouldn't, put up sound barriers like on the LIE and parkways. I know of people who have gotten onto the runway with their cars and ran all day there, nobody heard them nor complained otherwis the police would have shown up. So do the sound test and build a track!!!!
Walter S August 31, 2012 at 11:07 PM
You're right on Vince, I don't think this would float with the Calverton civic association. I am sure they are very use to having quiet Saturday nights and it would most definitely be an intrusion of their privacy. I live in Flanders, miles away from Riverhead Raceway and I hear the cars load and clear on Saturday nights. I remember National Speedway in Manorville, my brother raced there. Drivers were still racing when leaving that facility down the neighborhood roads, there was a reason why they closed it, it was dangerous. I don't know why RHT doesn't pursue the Shinnecock Indians to open a casino there with an entrance from the LIE.
Jim Austin September 01, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Just do it already. It's beyond obvious the support is there. People want to enjoy their hobby legally. If I could build it in my backyard, I would
Phil King September 01, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Whether you are for or against a track, any sensible person should support the sound test. This is being cited as the primary barrier to its acceptance and needs to be addressed. There will be many more hurdles to getting this fully approved, but why not give the motorsports community a chance to prove their claims?
Lee Rottenberg September 01, 2012 at 08:31 PM
To me it is a no-brainer. We used to have 3 tracks here on Long Island. One by one, they closed. The closest track is over an hour and a half away, with tolls and going through Manhattan making it a miserable trip. Building a track here would help many businesses, from speed shop to restaurants to hotels, etc. It would cut down on street racing, and help our kids giving them something constructive to do. I know there is talk about the noise from Riverhead Speedway, but racing there is limited to a few days a week and ends by 9:30 at night. I would hope the drag strip would be open everyday, but as long as the racing was over by 9 I don't see anybody complaining. Last week I went to the Tangier Mall, and while you could hear the cars, the announcer was just as loud. And by no way did it affect quality of live. It was not much noisier than living near the LIE (or any other major highway). So what are we waiting for? Since it would be the only dragstrip in lower NY State, it would have an instant monopoly and get all of the business. The only down side I can see is that it would take customers away from E-Town and Attco.
HEMI-ITIS September 03, 2012 at 03:31 AM
How is taking racers and spectators from NJ race tracks a down side.Better than a third of the people at these tracks are from Long Island.Those are the people posting here so we don't have to get RAPED with bridge tolls.Last week it cost me $52 each way to go to Engishtown Raceway park.They have a drag strip,moto-x and road track.Even the announcer at E/town{Walter} used to work at the westhampton track. WAKE UP RHT AND SMELL THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HEMI-ITIS September 03, 2012 at 03:34 AM
btw,THE $52.00 was just for the Varazano bridge going,and the outerbridge crossing coming back.I would pay $50 just to get in the gate at a track on LI!!
Lee Rottenberg September 03, 2012 at 04:05 AM
I apologize for the misunderstanding. I only meant that the downside would be for those NJ tracks so they might not be for it (the same way Atlantic City is probably not happy about casinos opening in NYC). Just to be totally clear- For us NY'ers, there is not downside at all.
GEORGE WASHINGTON September 03, 2012 at 11:20 PM
we as Americans would like to enjoy our freedoms,liberties and hobbies. We need a race track to enjoy our sport. ASK YOURSELVES How many racetracks are there on Long Island? How many golf courses are there? Gee I wonder how come the elitist get to have all those golf courses that take up so much room, all to hit a tiny little ball in a tiny little hole? (corrected typos sorry.)
George Oestel September 04, 2012 at 12:43 PM
to repond to g.w....It's those golfers that took away a world class track as Bridgehampton from the racing circit also!
SALVATORE FAZIO September 04, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Sal Fazio The carbon footprint of a drag strip is far less that of any other possible construction on that site, including private homes, an industrial park, or an indoor snow mountain. I have yet to hear complaints about the shotgun blasts and small arms fire at the gun club firing range within a quarter mile of the proposed drag strip site. The gun club deserves a place within the community for those sportsmen and so does a drag strip for our car enthusiasts. Noise from the strip can easily be addressed with noise barriers and vehicle exhaust regulations imposed by The operators of the strip as they are in other locations. The potential for an income windfall for Riverhead would certainly be realized with little disturbance to the environment.
Supershafts.com September 05, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Ok so you are going to compare a oval track that has cars running for anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hours straight , a track which also has absolutely no sound abatement at all, and is IN FACT set up as a speaker to that of a drag strip which has 2 cars race at a time for a seconds... This is the problem with people they make comparisons and have no IDEA what they are talking about nor any facts on the issue, instead they quickly make up a negative that doesn't exist. Here any noise from Epcal over the past 4 days ? anything at all ? Walter i want you to show facts of the dangers from these motorsports facilities when people leave, post up the police reports of these deadly accidents you are claiming happened. The reason they were closed Walter had nothing at all to do with the story you're trying to make legitimate here. I have been to RR and you can barely hear the modifieds down the block, and smell, smell what? i can't smell RR across the street eating let alone a mile away. Thats from a raceway that is set up like a speaker, any facility using stands like RR should be heard for miles and miles, yet at PCR's you have to wait till everything else is motionless not making a sound to barely hear the modifieds which would be the loudest of all the races there, and for what maybe a 15 minutes before they're under a caution making no noise.
Lee Rottenberg September 05, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I could not agree more with you. Like I said before, I had to strain to hear the cars (and I wanted to) when I was at the outlet mall. I grew up across the street from the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, with Ocean Parkway also under my window. And the noise there was much louder, but not to the point of disturbing me (except when some idiot with a loud boomy stereo drove by). Most dragstrips require some sort of mufflers, which would keep the sound levels low. And the racing would stop when most people are going to bed anyway. So again, I ask, why not?
Lee Rottenberg September 05, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I checked with Google Map, and milage wise, tracks in NJ are closer to me than Riverhead. That said, I rarely travel there due to the horrible traffic, tolls, and miserable experience of having to pass through Manhattan. Riverhead Racetrack is 73 miles from my home, and I can make it in 1 hour and 10 minutes. And it is a very pleasant drive (outside of any jams on the LIE). Can not say the same about trekking out to E-Town. Please, please, PLEASE give us a drag strip on Long Island!!!!! We need, better yet, we deserve the opportunity to race locally. I want to get active racing my most unique vehicle, and the only way that will happen is if we get our track.
HEMI-ITIS September 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Are there any currant complaints from the air planes that still use the short runway?? How about from the gunshots from the hunters??? Yea,thought so.
Supershafts.com September 06, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Actually there are 2 private gun clubs on either side of epcal and the brookhaven range a few miles west of epcal and CNC. Funny how no one mentioned that or the things at epcal now that aren't heard.
Wvan September 07, 2012 at 12:13 PM
I work for nycta and there is a coworker who use to live in queens who is a diehard dragracer that use to go to Westhampton all the time. He was tired of going back and forth to e town and tolls. He sold his house and bought himself one of those nice homes that are just outside of the track off pension road. So besides of small biz boom maybe there could be a jump in real estate in the town too.I know I would consider moving there adding another hour on to my commute but it would be worth it.
HEMI-ITIS September 08, 2012 at 12:23 AM
All part of the ripple effect,build it and "THEY" will come! RHT can prosper like NEVER before!!
Lee Rottenberg September 08, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Many years ago I had a friend that did the same thing. Ran a Buick Gran National.
justin martin September 14, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Come on guys. A drag strip may not be popular in everyone's eyes, but there are a lot of people who would sure enjoy it. 10's of Thousands. I for one would be glad to pay $150 which is more than double the going rate. As mentioned, there is almost no environmental impact...we would be creating jobs and using a wasted space, before its too far gone where it will have to be cleaned up... just get it done. its not really a big deal, except for all the poeple who would love it. I considered moving off LI beacause LI dragway closed. ...
JERRY LENTO September 28, 2012 at 01:01 AM
MEANSTREET A drag strip would be awesome,not to mention the revenue it would create and keep the racing off the streets!!!
Jeff Montero November 27, 2012 at 02:37 PM
people live near train tracks and airports right? you eventually get used to any noise you hear. When will our local government stop catering to the "poor" people that don't want a little noise during the afternoon? I don't think any of their neighbors complain to the town when their landscaper shows up at 9am and makes all the racket for an hour. stop letting whiners control the economy of an area because there's some noise that might disturb them. I live about a half mile from the old national speedway and the reason it closed was the almighty dollar not "out of control" drag racers making it dangerous when they left for the day. We are all just a little too soft, time to man up and do whats best for the local economy.
EVA ME April 09, 2013 at 08:44 PM


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