NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Tracks Get A Head Start on 2008

Daytona Beach, FL — Some of the most historic tracks in NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series have gotten a head start on the coming season by already signing sanction agreements for 2008.The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program featuring North America’s leading local short tracks.

The modern era of organized NASCAR weekly short track racing enters its 27th season next year and Barbara and Jim Cromarty of Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, N.Y., has been a mainstay from the beginning. They were the first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track to officially sign their 2008 NASCAR sanction.

Among the many tracks to also get a head start for 2008 include Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., South Boston (Va.) Speedway – which celebrated its 50th anniversary season in 2007 – Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., and Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.

The Cromartys have hosted NASCAR-sanctioned events for three decades, first on a now-redeveloped site that once was Islip Speedway, and at their still popular Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, a classic quarter-mile paved oval where NASCAR Modifieds reign supreme. Jim Cromarty says a NASCAR sanction is invaluable.

“When your track is part of NASCAR, you’re part of a team,” Cromarty said. “We’ve been with NASCAR for than 30 years and there’s just nothing like it. This is a tough business. When issues come up in our industry, NASCAR stands right there beside you. That’s a pretty good feeling for us as promoters as well as our participants.”

Riverhead not only churns out excellent drivers, but mechanics as well. Joe Zeneski was voted as the 2007 Craftsman Mechanic of the Year national winner in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Zeneski turns wrenches for driver Eddie Misterda in the track’s entry-level Blunderbust division.

“We have a bunch of super mechanics at Riverhead, no question about it,” Cromarty said. “We’re proud of all our guys.”

Like NASCAR, Bowman Gray Stadium celebrates its 60th anniversary season in 2007. NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and his family, along with Winston-Salem-based Alvin Hawkins and his family, promoted NASCAR racing at the municipal stadium and football field in 1948.

“We’re excited about being involved with Whelen and NASCAR,” said Gray Garrison, promoter of the flat, quarter-mile paved oval. “With Whelen’s new long-term commitment, we’re very excited. Since we know where the series future is, we can concentrate on our weekly program because we known the national program is in good hands. That lets us concentrate on promoting a good show for the fans. Adding to the track’s stability is a newly signed 20-year operating agreement for the stadium.

“Essentially, NASCAR and Bowman Gray Stadium have been together since Day One. The overall outlook for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is bright. It’s great for our drivers, it’s great for our fans, and for those of us who promote the tracks. It’s a win-win situation.”

“We feel really blessed,” Garrison added. “We still operate a family business, and we have generations of families who are with us every Saturday night in the pits and in the grandstands. We feel were ready for the next generation.”

The first tracks to officially renew long-time affiliations with NASCAR have been boosted on next year’s outlook based on the long-term commitment from Whelen Engineering – a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and public emergency lighting and warning systems based in Connecticut – which just completed its first year as series sponsor.

Sources: Jason Christley/NASCAR PR