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Supe: Racing Country Club 'Option' for EPCAL

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter blasts Marty Johnson, president of the Long Island Motorsports Association, over leaked tape.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter is seeing red.

Walter, who is on vacation, blasted Marty Johnson, CEO and founder of the Long Island Motorsports Associaton, in a phone interview on Thursday. Walter said that a recent tape leaked to the Riverhead News Review, on which Walter allegedly says he would try to quietly approve drag racing at Enterprise Park at Calverton, could slam the brakes on any future drag racing discussions.

"I don't understand this guy," Walter said. "Marty Johnson is destroying drag racing on Long Island."

Walter said plans for the future at EPCAL currently being considered include a racing country club, where members would pay to join and race on a quarter mile track. "It would be no different than a golf club," Walter said. "That's what we're studying."

But, the supervisor added, although and are two uses that have residents divided passionately on both sides, with some fervently advocating for a new drag strip and environmentalists decrying the possibility, the bottom line is that before any future use can be discussed, the subdivision process and environmental review by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation must be completed first.

"We don't want to paint a target on drag racing's back -- we have to get through the process," Walter said.

The supervisor said he believes it's important to proceed with the DEC process before any uses are fully vetted. "You can't put the cart before the horse," he said.

"We don't want to take one potential use on 2,400 acres and make it a target," Walter said, adding that there are a number of elected officials he declined to identify who are opposed to drag racing.

Johnson's actions, Walter said, may force the issue to a head. "There are a couple of elected officials that have jurisdiction over EPCAL that don't like drag racing. And if they tell me that drag racing's done -- Marty killed it."

Johnson responded that officials including State Sen. Ken Lavalle are "quietly against this." But, Johnson said, "These elected officials need to understand that they work for the poeple. The particular individuals who are against this -- I don't think they should be in office any longer."

Motorsports, Johnson said, do "nothing but good" for the community; those involved are charitable and involved in giving back.

Walter said while the DEC review process is ongoing, the goal should not be to "make this a public fight about drag racing and polo ponies. This should not be about anything but apple pie, Mom and Chevrolet -- which is what stands for. The point is, you're not sneaking it in -- but you're just trying to be quiet. You don't want to raise the red flag."

Johnson, Walter added, is "throwing a wrench in things." The supervisor questioned why Johnson kept a voicemail and sent it to the media. "Who keeps phone messages for two years?" he asked. 

Would you like to see drag racing at EPCAL? Tell us what you think in the comments section. 

charles rimicci July 27, 2012 at 10:50 AM
why us walter trying to keep things secret from the people in riverhead very strange
novadose July 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM
not happy at all with what is going on ....polo ponies??? are you kidding me...?....might as well bring back ski mountain....who looks into these things and figures that it will be a big draw?? i think riverhead should quietly check out what is going on in the rest of the country...look at zmax in the carolinas...and check out thier noise issues....there arent any...in fact with todays science you can bearly hear anything right outside thier gates...either way ....its a shame that everyone is mad against everyone on this issue...a temporary drag strip would show how many really want it when they line up to race legally ..instead of on our streets...
dale doherty July 30, 2012 at 11:58 PM
we need a track, the rich cant keep getting everything. the only thing we know is racing and if you are to stubborn to let us even give it a try, we are forced to go out of state and spend money off of long island. for those of us who dont choose the streets as an alternative
Phil King July 31, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Bringing the issue to a head is EXACTLY what needs to happen. No longer can politicians try to hide our DEMANDS for a place to race. As was noted, these offices exist to SERVE the people. I can guarantee that while polo is a valid sport that the number of polo people on Long Island is an order of magnitude smaller than the number of people that would prefer a race track. In this case, the racers are the majority and what the politician like is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT!!! Sean, you and your colleagues are here to serve us - no more excuses about slipping it past the red tape. That is just a way to keep us out of the limelight again - and those days are over. It is time to admit that a track is right choice and work to make it happen versus sneaking around in an effort to snuff it.
Bob Mannara August 07, 2012 at 09:48 AM
How do you know when a politician is Lying? Thats right when they move their lips!!
Daniel Bealey September 01, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Why not nascar to raise lots of money for taxes ...
Phil King September 01, 2012 at 01:46 PM
While NASCAR is a big draw, the politicians have called out concerns about traffic and other logistical challenges that crowds of that size could create. I think we need to walk before we run in this case, but I'd be all-in for a NASCAR track here too someday...
marty conklin September 03, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Drag racing has been in our family end nieghbor hood for 3 generations ,it keeps my boys,wife and i in the garage working and playing together and off the streets. We need something like this givin back to us,the town of riverhead has takin our woods that our hole nieghbor hood use to play with our children in,riding,hiking,ect. it would be nice to see them give something back. The politicians of Riverhead need only to see how big the interest is in motorsports by going down town at the river front carshow on thursday evenings(that mr.Walters helped get cranking i might add) and see how big it really is

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