Local businessmen and veteran drag racers Mike Swinarski and Vito Antonicelli have completed the acquisition of Lancaster National Speedway from Gordon Reger, and the new owners' first decision was to rename the track.
The dual stock car/drag racing facility will be known as New York International Raceway Park, a name that should be familiar to Western New York racing fans.
The new owners and Reger confirmed an agreement was signed this week, but declined to disclose the sale price.
The new name was first used several years ago at the dragstrip in Leicester that is now known as Empire Dragway. Antonicelli purchased NYIRP from Bob and Donna Metcalfe in May 2008 and used the NYIRP name. He owned the track for a brief time.
Now, he is bringing the name back.
"Vito owns the name," Swinarski said. "It's also handy because he has a lot of signs, paperwork, tech cards and other things with the NYIRP name already on it from before."
He said there were other "private factors" that led to the name change that he declined to disclose.
Reger announced April 11 that he had a verbal agreement with the pair to buy the track, and the sides have been working toward finalizing a written agreement.
Reger has owned Lancaster for the better part of the last 20 years. The track overall has run motorsports near-continuously since 1959.
Swinarski said the new NYIRP will feature weekly IHRA drag racing throughout the season while running a limited stock car schedule of about six races. Also two crash-a-rama type events are planned, he said.
Drag racing tentatively begins with a test and tune session May 18 and the IHRA weekly drag racing points season is scheduled to begin May 24. The initial weekly show will feature the TNT Super Series and the Buffalo Street Outlaws. Test and tune Tuesdays begin May 21.
The new owners met with about 250 members of the drag racing contingent this week, Swinarski said.
The stock car program is on hold while the new owners work to hire a stock car manager. They hope to make a hire by next week so that the stock car program can be planned.
"We're hiring somebody that knows much more about stock car racing then I do," Swinarski said. "I can't tell anybody who it is yet because we're not completely sure yet. I don't know anything about stock cars and neither does Vito so the new stock car manager will make the calls on what we run as far as the stock car races are concerned. We'll see. As soon as we know, everyone will know."
Also, Swinarski said they have much work that needs to be done at the facility and have a long list of repairs and improvements that will be made over time.
"We're trying to grind the track and get it flat," Swinarski said. "Then we will start painting perhaps. Improvements will take time such as putting new lights up this year and pa speakers and probably make the drag racing return road that goes back to the pits wider. Little by little we'll get everything fixed and improved. For now just getting up and racing is the main thing."
With much to do and little time to do it, Swinarski said there is not much opportunity to celebrate the completion of the deal.
"It feels good that we finally have the signed agreement, but really while I want to take time to celebrate, the reality is that I just want to get to work, get the place cleaned up and get ready to race," Swinarski said. "Vito wants the same."
Story topics: Lancaster Speedway