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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The operators of a mainstay NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track are being recognized for their longtime success and contributions to their community.
Barbara and Jim Cromarty, owners and promoters of Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on Long Island have been named as Riverhead Chamber of Commerce 2012 Business Persons of the Year.
“The Cromartys were selected by unanimous vote of our board,” said Mary Hughes, the chamber’s Executive Director. “Their longevity and success in our community deserves to be recognized.”
Riverhead Raceway opened in 1949. The Cromartys took over promoting the quarter-mile paved oval in 1977. They bought it in 1984 when their other Long Island track, Islip Speedway, closed. Islip became a NASCAR-sanctioned weekly track in 1976. The Cromartys made Riverhead a founding track of the modern era NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 1982.
“Riverhead is a great community and we’re proud to be part of it,” Barbara Cromarty said. “We’re supporters of our local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, schools and churches. They’re all part of the Riverhead Raceway family. We just want people to come out to the track and have fun. Along the way we’ve made a lot of friends and developed a lot of relationships. We’re honored to be recognized by the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.”
Through a NASCAR’s program, the Cromarty’s made a huge donation to the Town of Riverhead this summer.
Riverhead Raceway received about 100 trees to plant in June as part of the NASCAR Green “Clean Air Tree Planting Program.” The Cromartys designated the Town of Riverhead as beneficiary of the trees for municipal planting.
“We appreciate getting those trees from NASCAR, and people in the Town of Riverhead will enjoy them for years to come,” Jim Cromarty said. “Whoever came up with the idea for the NASCAR tree planting program did a wonderful thing.”
The NASCAR Green “Clean Air Tree Planting Program” was established in 2009. Since then thousands of trees have been planted in areas surrounding selected NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks. In addition to the tree planting, the program also raises awareness of natural resource conservation among NASCAR fans.
Town Council passed a resolution to plant the trees and Town Supervisor Sean Walter attended a raceway event to accept the Cromarty’s donation on June 16. Some of the first trees were planted during a ceremony at the Town of Riverhead Animal Shelter in September. The rest have since been planted throughout the community.
“The Cromartys donated the trees with the sincerity they are known for,” Hughes said. “They are a big part of what makes our community great. We’re proud to have Riverhead Raceway in our home town.”
Riverhead Raceway employs up to 80 people each race night. Local businesses such as restaurants, hotels, service stations and stores all benefit from visitors the raceway attracts to the eastern end of Long Island. The track will also host two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events in 2013.
“I loved going to the races as a kid,” Hughes said. “I had two cousins who raced there. Riverhead Raceway was a fun part of my childhood experience.”