Barbara and Jim Cromarty have owned Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway since 1985. They’ve fielded numerous offers to sell the quarter-mile bullring, but have long said that the only way they’d sell the track would be under the condition that it remained a race track.
The Cromarty’s have finally found their buyer in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Eddie Partridge. According to Partridge, he and the Cromarty’s closed on a deal for the race track at $4-million on Friday morning.
“We’ve been talking to the Cromarty’s for over a year now about purchasing the track,” Partridge told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Finally we had a piece of property sell (that we owned), and that enabled us to basically transfer the funds from one piece of property to another. Probably about six months ago it started to really seem like it was going to come about and everything started to fall into place. We ended up closing earlier than I thought.”
Partridge, who also owns TS Haulers in Calverton, New York, said that current track general manager John Ellwood will remain in control, and will help run the track along with Partridge’s nephew, Tom Gatz. And for now, they will be running Riverhead Raceway at its current location. Although that could change a few years down the road.
“We can’t be without a track. There’s always going to be a track,” Partridge said. “We won’t sell it unless we can build another one at Calverton (former military F-14 plant that it currently closed). If we can’t build that track then we won’t sell Riverhead.
“Right now we’re concentrating on running the track next year and making improvements.”
Partridge said that he has already started a gameplan of ideas for the 2016 season, and what to do to make improvements to the already existing structures at Riverhead Raceway.
“We are going to completely redo the light system for sure,” Partridge said. “We’re going to do some work on the stands, the offices and get some new bathrooms. We also want to put in new concession stands and kitchens. We’ll do a lot there.
“But to be honest with you, I usually spend a lot of time in the pits. I can’t remember the last time I was on the other side of the track.”
He said that some of his additions will be done in the hopes of making the facility more family friendly.
“I’d like to bring in a lot of stuff for the kids, like a petting zoo,” Partridge said. “Maybe have some clowns shooting tee shirts into the crowd or something like that. I want to try to make it more family friendly.”
Regardless of what Partridge does with the race track in the future, or where it will be located, there will still be racing on Long Island for years to come.
“My nephew is a younger guy,” Partridge said. “I’m 62, so he’ll take over after me.”
And that is exactly what the Cromarty’s have wanted. According to Riverhead Raceway’s public address announcer, Bob Finan, the Cromarty’s made one statement.
“Congratulations to Riverhead Raceway. It will remain a race track.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com