Story By: DAVE BUCHANAN / LANCASTER SPEEDWAY – LANCASTER, NY – The 60th anniversary season of racing at Lancaster Speedway & Dragway @ New York International Raceway Park kicks off this Saturday with a Test & Tune session for the IHRA Drag Racing program.
Pit gates will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday for tech inspection followed by a time trial session from 12-5 p.m.
Following of a winter of uncertainty surrounding the facility, local businessmen Vito Antonicelli and Mike Swinarski purchased the 77-acre property and will continue to operate it as a motorsports venue as well as bring in additional events to compliment the 2019 racing schedule.
The new ownership group will operate the business under the name New York International Raceway Park (NYIRP) while keeping the 60 year tradition of racing in Lancaster going strong.
“When the possibility of racing not happening at Lancaster in 2019 started to become a reality, Mike and I decided we needed to step in and help,” said Antonicelli. “We look at it as redefining the future for generations to come. To keep the facility open for our current racers and fans while growing and adding racers and fans that will keep it going for another 60 years.”
The traditional weekly schedule of drag racing events will start next week with Tuesday night Test & Tune, Wednesday Cruise Night and Friday night IHRA Drag Racing.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21 for Test & Tune and amateur drag racing. The Junior Dragsters will once again be a part of Tuesday nights this season with their first race on June 4. The Senior Nostalgia class also returns on Tuesdays with six races. Wednesday, May 22, will mark the return of the popular Wednesday Cruise Nights at NYIRP starting at 6 p.m.
The first night of points for the IHRA Drag Racing program will be Friday, May 24 for all weekly classes, including Top ET, Mod ET, Bikes & Sleds and Street ET. The TNT Super Series and the fan-favorite Buffalo Street Outlaws will be a part of the action on opening night.
The ownership of NYIRP have partnered with the Race of Champions (RoC) to put on a series of six stock car events this season. Opening night for Lancaster Speedway @ NYIRP will be Thursday, June 27 with the running of the 5th annual Ol’ Boy Cup 60 for the RoC Modified Series featuring the top Modified stars from New York and Pennsylvania. The Street Stocks, 4-Cylinders and NYPA TQ Midgets will round out the first stock car event of 2019.
A second midweek stock car special follows on Thursday, July 11 with the 4th annual Joe Reilly Summer Lap 54-lap race for the RoC Sportsman Modified Series. The traditional “Saturday night under lights” stock car action returns on Saturday, July 20 with Autograph Night headlined by the RoC Sportsman and Late Model Series.
One of Lancaster’s biggest Modified races returns home on Saturday, August 17 with the 30th running of the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 for the RoC Modifieds. The following Saturday, August 24, will be the Ken Heckler Tribute 51 for the Street Stocks.
Lancaster Speedway @ NYIRP will close out its season in its traditional fashion with “WNY’s Racing Finale”, the 31st annual U.S. Open during the weekend of September 13-15. U.S. Open weekend will keep its traditional schedule with the excitement reaching its peak with the U.S. Open 125 for the RoC Modifieds on the afternoon of Sunday, September 15.
NYIRP will host Road Rage-A-Rama (formerly known as Crash-A-Rama) on Saturday, June 15 presented by JM Motorsports Productions. This family favorite event will include and Enduro Race, Demolition Derby, School Bus Race, Flag Pole Race, Skid Plate Race and Boat Trailer Race. More details on Road Rage-A-Rama will be posted in the coming weeks.