Before Aug. 24, all seemed relatively calm at Wyoming County International Speedway.
A controversial incident during the running of the SST Modified 35-season point finale that decided the championship and its aftermath, however, led owner/promoter Jim Majchrzak to say that he was considering selling the track.
Majchrzak became distraught over the social media comments and announced at the drivers meeting the next week that the grief was no longer worth it.
Since then, Majchrzak, after much soul searching, said he wants to put the ugly chapter behind him and restore tranquility to the WCIS racing experience starting with this weekend's season-ending "Shootout at the Bullring."
He said he is not seeking to sell the track, but acknowledged that he is looking to add investors. Majchrzak owns a few other businesses and said he does not have enough time to devote to those businesses and also growing the business plan of the speedway. That plan includes potentially adding off-road truck racing and possibly not having weekly races next season.
Here's what led to the backlash: In the Aug. 24 race, Daniel Majchrzak, Jim's son, was racing point leader Kevin Timmerman for the lead. On lap 12, Daniel was running underneath Timmerman when suddenly Timmerman went hard into the front stretch outside barrier with what the WCIS news release termed "help" from Daniel Majchrzak. According to the release, Daniel Majchrzak was "parked for the evening for his involvement." Alan Bookmiller inherited the lead and the championship.
In the days that followed, people saw the incident in different ways and were not shy about sharing their opinions. Some expressed their anger toward Jim and his WCIS officials mainly through social media.
Jim Majchrzak sat down with The Buffalo News to discuss the response to the incident and his plans.
"Actually, I don't think I was very serious about selling the track," he said. "What I think it was is that it was very discouraging to see the attitudes of the drivers and teams that when we as promoters or all the officials are out there working to make a better platform for motorsports in this regionalized area. The drivers have a tendency of taking it too seriously and when something occurs, they blow it out of proportion, and it's tough.
"Our officials try to make it fair, and we're not talking about one person making officiating decisions but a group of officials. Nobody pre-thinks before a race and says, 'Hey I think I'm going to disqualify this person or that person,' especially when you have so many people having a hand in making the calls.
"When a racer comes in with so much anxiety after we've spent years trying to create something positive here and then to have them get aggravated and go online and deface the racing industry, we have no control over that. It was so nasty and hurtful what was online by some that it was discouraging.
"We have seen some other racetracks take some hard blows from teams from all types of motorsports. We were very fortunate because we didn't have that here. Now some of that, 'If I don't like it, I'm going to protest it online' kind of attitude came about.
"That was a very big surprise to me because with some of these people in question, we are all good friends. It got so nasty and to have other people climb on board was hurtful, especially since we all go out to have fun, something I have preached since I've been here over 20 years."
Majchrzak declined to identify those who caused his grief. He concedes he's made a few mistakes in the past, but said no promoter is perfect. He's also made good decisions over the years.
Beyond seeking investors, Majchrzak has been working with Holland Speedway co-owner Ron Bennett to form a spirit of cooperation as Holland will reopen for stock car racing in 2020.
"I've talked to Ron and I hope we can do something together," Majchrzak said. "Ron came by our facility and later we talked on the phone. I think in today's racing all the local tracks need to connect and integrate our schedules. Instead of us running full time and weekly against each other, we could all take nights off when the other track is running and they take off when we are running. Not being weekly anymore is a thought I have for next year. But things still have to be decided.
Like many promoters, Majchrzak has his supporters and critics. He has thoughts for both groups.
"For the critics, I would say to just roll it back," Majchrzak. "This is something we do for fun. If you think there's something more to it then you need to go somewhere else. We've decided that we're not going to take the anxiety anymore. Our officials are volunteers or work for very little. So they don't need the headaches.
"For the supporters, we've got calls already from people who are coming out here with new cars next year. I just appreciate everyone who supports us in whatever way they do. We need to keep it in perspective. This is not NASCAR Cup racing but rather local racing based right here. Whether we stay weekly next year or switch to special events, we will meet with the drivers and teams in the weeks ahead to see what they want. ...
"I have an open door policy that I will talk to anyone. That's why my personal cellphone number appears right on our website. We just want our Saturday night racers to come out here, have some fun and shake hands when you're all done regardless of what happens."
The "Shootout at the Bullring" begins at 7:05 p.m. Friday. It will feature the WCIS Super Stock 50, 6-Cylinder 25, 4-Cylinder 20. Saturday's 2 p.m. program is highlighted by the Jim Pierce Memorial SST Modified 100, NY Super Stocks Sandra Vogler Memorial 51, 4-Cylinder 30 and Vintage 10.