When the first green flag flies this season at New York International Raceway Park in Lancaster, the stock car competition no longer will be under the direction of Joe Skotnicki and his Race of Champions organization.
Skotnicki ran the program in 2019 under an agreement he forged with new track owners Vito Antonicelli and Mike Swinarski. The pair purchased the speedway from Gordon Reger last spring.
Skotnicki revealed late last week that an ongoing dispute exists between himself and track owners over purse money that Skotnicki says he is still owed from last September's U.S. Open Weekend. As a result, Skotnicki says he has suspended his agreement with the track owners to sanction and direct the stock car racing there unless a resolution can be found.
Antonicelli denies Skotnicki's claim and said there no resolution will be sought with Race of Champions. He said New York International Raceway Park will operate its own stock car program in 2020.
Neither Skotnicki nor Antonicelli would discuss the type of purse money or the amounts in dispute.
The dispute does not involve the track's International Hot Road Association drag racing program, which the raceway park ran in 2019, and will again in 2020.
According to Skotnicki, finances for purse money due to Race of Champions involving U.S. Open Weekend have not been paid in full and caused delayed payouts to teams that raced U.S. Open Weekend. Skotnicki said that Race of Champions has since paid the teams.
"There was a meeting with speedway management after the event and the season was completed to address concerns and the terms which were previously agreed upon," Skotnicki said. "It got to the point where we wanted to get teams paid and had to use some of our operational funding to accomplish this."
Skotnicki stressed that he has been working with his attorney throughout the process and that there are private factors in the dispute.
"I would like to work things out with the speedway. However, misinformation and speculation by racers, sponsors and fans is misleading and confusing," Skotnicki said. "The Race of Champions wants to open all lines of communication with New York International Raceway Park."
Antonicelli says that the bridge between the two parties has been burned.
"Today, my partners and me went over everything and I don't know where he's (Skotnicki) coming up with the numbers where we haven't paid him, but he hasn't come up with anything either, so I'm sure that it's a false statement on his part," Antonicelli said on Monday. "That's what I want to say. We are definitely going on our own with the stock car program.
"We will have nine events this year for the stock cars. We'll be starting off with a practice on May 9 and then our season will start on May 16. We run throughout the summer and wrap up with the U.S. Open Weekend. We have a couple people we are interviewing right now to run the stock car program."
New York International Raceway Park released its 2020 stock car schedule Wednesday. The asphalt Modifieds will be showcased in the Ol' Boy Cup on June 25; the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak 110 on Aug. 8 and the season-concluding U.S. Open Weekend is Sept. 11-13.
The Super Stocks will have specials on May 16 and June 20 as well as the U.S. Open. The Sportsman Summer Slam 75 is July 25. Regular point classes will be the Sportsman, Street Stocks, 4-Cylinders and TQ Midgets. There will be eight point events along with the U.S. Open. The remaining 2020 dates featuring regular point classes on June 4, July 9 and Aug. 27.
Antonicelli also outlined the drag racing agenda for 2020.
"Our drag schedule is really heavily booked," Antonicelli said. "We actually have nine dates booked for Saturdays during the day, which will involve a lot of nostalgia-type racing. We will continue to run our Friday night IHRA point races, Tuesday night amateur drags and our Wednesday cruise and grudge race nights."
Holland to run one stock car event?
Holland International Speedway co-owner Ron Bennett said the high-banked Southern Erie County oval is currently slated to run one stock car event in 2020, the annual George Decker Memorial for the Pro Modifieds on Aug. 1.
Crash-A-Rama events are scheduled for June 13 and Sept. 12. There is a possibility of adding another stock car race, but that is only under consideration at this time.
Holland speedway has been for sale for the last two years.
Freedom Motorsports Park adds class
Freedom Motorsports Park owner/promoter Bob Reis has added a support division to his 2020 season at the Delevan dirt track.
"It's hard to believe this is my sixth year running Freedom," Reis said. "I added the Pro/Econo Mod class this season. There's a ton of interest in it and now we have three tracks in the area that run the class at this time – us, Stateline and Bradford."
The Pro car has a 604 cubic-inch engine that is run in a Crate Late Model, and the Econo Mod has a Street Stock-type engine (355 or 360 cubic inches) with a two-barrel carburetor in it.
World of Outlaws coming to Ransomville
The prestigious World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series will visit Ransomville Speedway on July 31.
The Super DIRT.Car Big Block Modified Series will race at the Niagara County dirt oval on July 7.
Ransomville and Freedom announced Monday that they have partnered to host a special six-race Mini Stock Series in 2020 with each track hosting three series points races. The top five finishers in the Mini Stock series will share in a $1,000 point fund.