Throughout its long history, Holland International Speedway has used the slogan, "Thunder in the Hills," when promoting their Saturday night stock car racing events. Following an announcement made during this past Sunday's drivers meeting by Daniel J. Hutchinson, the area racing community can now look for the thunder to be heard on selected Friday evenings during the Southern Tier asphalt high-banked oval's 59th season, which begins May 18.
Holland has never run regular stock car events on Fridays at anytime in track history.
Hutchinson, 38, a local businessman, was tabbed recently to direct the operations of Holland's race program.
Also at Sunday's meeting, Hutchinson revealed that Holland's racing programs will be a part of the development on the 134 acres that the speedway is on of a new family-oriented summer outdoor entertainment complex called Hillside-Buffalo.
The complex, when completed, will also feature such attractions as Frisbee golf, horseback riding, concerts and other activities. Hutchinson did not offer a timetable as to when the new attractions would be added. There is already a paintball park that has been operating on the property for the last few years.
What is known from the stock car racing perspective is that Holland will run 14 race events in 2018 with eight getting the green flag on Saturdays and the remainder on the new race night of Friday.
The Friday announcement caught everyone by surprise. Why Fridays?
"We heard from the fan base and we heard from the cultures that there wasn't a local facility that they could attend on a special event evening and exercise their want to race at Holland but the conflicts within the other schedules were there," Hutchinson said. "There is just not enough meat on the bone for multiple venues to not exercise the right. We want to exercise the right."
Hutchinson will run four classes during his standard stock car program, including Modifieds, Late Models, Chargers and Hornets. Over the last several seasons, the NYPA TQ Midgets have made frequent visits to Holland but were not listed in the presentation Sunday. Following Sunday's meeting, NYPA president Charlie DiRosa arranged to have a meeting with Hutchinson this coming Saturday to discuss the possibility of the NYPA group being included in the 2018 Holland racing slate.
Hutchinson, of Orchard Park, is the founder, President and Chief Technology Officer of PostProcess Technologies, a Buffalo-based company he launched in 2014. Hutchinson has earned three different engineering degrees during his college days and has served in both the U.S. Navy and the Navy Reserve.
"My love for racing started almost at the same time as my love for engineering so it goes all the way back from living on the farm in Orchard Park as a kid," Hutchinson said. "PostProcess will be my focus but Holland racing will be important too. I could be doing something else but I'm not going to get distracted from my core business. I will also be looking at this business (Holland) and growing this business too."
While he does not know the racers who compete at Holland, he stated that he does have race driving in his background having driven a dirt stock car at Humberstone and Genesee speedways many years ago.
Hutchinson has a big challenge ahead of him with Holland's racing program but says that he is up to the task.
"What I'm looking at is that owners who were promoters and promoters that were owners, those weren't good mixtures," he said. "But true business people and data-minded people will make it work. My values are attention to detail with a growth mindset and that's what I will do."
Longtime Holland promoter Ron Bennett Sr., will be still involved at Holland as well.