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Larry Ott: Wyoming Speedway off and running

Midway through Saturday afternoon, instead of getting ready for the night’s stock car activity at Wyoming County International Speedway, promoter Jim J. Majchrzak was watching it rain while holding court at the concession stand with a few people.

The small gathering included a member of the Polish Mafia Racing Team, a guitar player and man nicknamed “Scrappy”.

Unfortunately only moments earlie, rain had forced Majchrzak to postpone his “Aloha To Summer” stock car program to next Saturday. He is hoping that a more appropriate amount of sunshine materializes to better suite his Hawaiian-themed evening of competition.

The driver of the Polish Mafia team present Saturday was Super Stock driver Kyle Skoney. The guitar player/composer was Smear Records recording artist Mike Smiarowski, who was set to perform at WCIS during the races.

“Scrappy” is Super Stock driver Mike Chenaille who while naturally disappointed with the rainout is looking forward to the rest of the WCIS season.

Majchrzak says that he has been encouraged by the early season that has played out at WCIS thus far at the one-third mile asphalt track in Perry.

“As a promoter we always got to keep a positive attitude toward everything,” said Majchrzak. “Every year we’ve been coming and going through this slow economy but what is good is that our opening day this year was probably one of the best in about five to seven years. Also our June event this past week was the best June event that we’ve had in eight years. Everything was great – the big grandstand crowd, cars and concessions sales. Overall it was great and financially the best we’ve had.”

Majchrzak feels the early season success bodes well for the rest of 2015 at WCIS.

“June is usually a month that we try to coast through as we try to make it to summertime,” said Majchrzak. “In this case here, June came in quite strong which I’m really enthusiastic about for the summertime.”

In another matter, two seasons ago Majchrzak moved his weekly stock car events from another race day to Saturday nights. Many in the local racing community considered this direct competition to the two other Western New York asphalt tracks, Lancaster Speedway and Dragway and Holland Motorsports Complex.

Many local racing enthusiasts have had the feeling that there are not enough cars and fans to attend these three tracks weekly when they are all running against each other almost every Saturday night.

Majchrzak has a philosophy that he has developed and has stuck to when explaining his rationale to also race Saturdays. Majchrzak made certain strong claims Saturday based on the recent upswing in the fortunes of WCIS.

“The economy has hurt all of us,” said Majchrzak. “It would be great if there were enough days in the weekend for every one of the race tracks to run on separate days but there is not. The truth is that we found that Saturday is the entertainment night and it’s easier for everybody to get out whether it’s the racers, fans, etc.

“So I didn’t look at it as a competition thing but the truth is that we needed to grow Wyoming County and right down here over the hill is Letchworth State Park and Silver Lake. Both of them are very strong entities for me to draw seasonal entertainment out here. That’s what I was after for Saturdays.

“We have had the strongest car count here in the past two years,” he contined. “We continue that again this year with the strongest of our flagship class, which is our Modifieds. Our Super Stock division has grown by almost ten cars if not more. Our Modified count has experienced the same thing and has grown up to over ten cars. The growth over the past two years has been phenomenal. I think we’re putting on the best show. The funny thing is that we’re the smallest of the area asphalt tracks and I believe right now we’re the strongest.

“While I don’t reveal attendance figures, the fans coming in here have finally made it to where the show is not just a break-even show anymore. That’s what’s good about it.”

Thus far for the first four race feature events of 2015 excluding rainouts, WCIS has drawn 16 Modifieds on May 16; 7 on May 23; 11 on June 6, and 16 on June 13. Super Stock counts for those same race dates, has been 9, 6, 6 and 10 respectively. The 4-Cylinder class has drawn 11, 10, 14 and 12 cars. As for those same dates by comparison Holland didn’t race May 16 and June 13. Lancaster was off May 23 and June 13.

Skoney of West Seneca enjoys racing in the Super Stock class at Wyoming after competing in prior years at Holland. The Polish Mafia Racing Team consists of Skoney, Joe Horvatits, Dakota Packman and Majchrzak’s son Daniel.

“It seemed like a logical fit coming to Wyoming County,” said Skoney. “After 2012, I stopped running the Hornet division up at Holland. In 2013 a couple of my buddies said bring your 4-cylinder to Wyoming County and we’ll help get it working. I did that for a year and then my cousin Joe Horvatits talked me into driving a Super Stock here like he does.

“Racing is racing, whether you’re out there against four guys or 20 guys it’s a blast. Everything out here is down to earth.

Chenaille of Livonia has been involved at the track for several seasons.

“I’ve known Jim for over 25 years,” said Chenaille. “It’s nice to be able to come out here and play. I use to help Jim on his cars when he was driving back in the 1980’s and 1990’s I learned a lot about race driving from Paul Weber who is now retired from racing. I once raced on dirt but I’ve been racing at Wyoming County now for seven years. I started in the Street Stock class and won the championship here my first year. Then I jumped up to Super Stocks.

“Jim gave me the nickname ‘Scrappy’ back when I use to work on his car. I guess I could find scrap parts anywhere and I also could take a piece of scrap and make something out of it.”