BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway is making some changes to its Wednesday night Cruise Nights following a fight that happened at last week's event.
On Monday, Track President Tim Packman released a statement saying the altercation, which was posted online to Facebook, brought the racetrack negative publicity and was "the final straw."
This comes a year after the facility suspended Cruise Night for several weeks after two separate altercations between two security guards and two patrons were caught on camera and posted to social media. After that incident, the speedway switched security companies and began charging a $5 entry fee to drivers wishing to drive on the infield during Cruise Night in hopes of deterring people who were attending Cruise Night to tear up the infield of the racetrack and cause trouble.
In his statement released Monday, Packman said that he personally observed drivers coming to Cruise Night simply to do donuts and burnouts in the grass before leaving. Packman said that damage, in addition to the behavior of participants, has been putting constant strain on the Speedway's resources and taking away from the Speedway's other programs.
Beginning June 6, Cruise Night will become Grudge Racing. Every vehicle that wishes to race in the infield area will pay $20 per vehicle for unlimited runs between six and ten p.m. Motorcyclists wishing to participate will pay $10 to gain entry to the infield, which will include a ticket for two runs. Each additional run will be $5.
Even with the changes, Packman added that there will be a zero-tolerance policy moving forward, and if another incident like last Wednesdays' occurs again this summer, Wednesday night Grudge Racing will be canceled.
Statement from Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway regarding Wednesday Night Events
By Tim Packman, Track President
“Last Thursday, I walked through the grounds of our facility and observed some things that shouldn’t be here. I saw burnout marks in the new asphalt areas of our Stock Car pits, I saw donut burnouts in our front parking lot grass and burnouts in our infield grass. I saw more burnouts on our pit road entrance and our Hot Pits areas.
I have observed cars coming in our gated area, do a donut in our Hot Pit area on an off day and leave. I have seen a white motorcycle with white saddlebags come down the pit road entrance, stop, turn around, do a long burnout and just leave. I see multiple burnout marks on our pit road entrance. I know one thing, it’s not our Friday and Saturday night racers doing them.
We have had some sort of trouble every Wednesday we have been open this season and last week's altercation that posted online, which brought us negative publicity from local news outlets, was the final straw. The disrespect being shown to our facility is undeserved and we’re done with it taking place.
I have asked, warned and enforced -- but to no avail.
Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway has been a staple of the WNY motorsports fabric since 1959. We have been about one thing – racing.
When I took over as Track President in the fall of 2015, I stood before the Drag and Stock Car teams at their respective banquets and promised them we would give them a place to race, make improvements to the facility and bring back the good vibes that existed long ago.
The ownership group has backed that by investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into Lancaster, and the results have come through in the Drag and Stock Car programs.
Now, we are going to treat Wednesday like what this track was built on – racing. Drag and Stock Car teams pay to get into our infield and pit areas. It is not a right to get inside our pits. Race teams pay to do so and they have invested tens of thousands of dollars to race here. It us up to this track to make sure they have a well kept and safe place to race.
Wednesday night activities have done damage to all of it. The resources this track has been forced to put forth to continue with that night have been exhausting. We are having to put resources into Wednesday night activities that are taking away from our other nights.
In turn, it has done damage to our reputation and is keeping people from attending our Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night programs. This staff and race teams have worked too hard the past few years to make it good again.
Enough is enough, and we’re taking action.
Starting this Wednesday, June 6, and going forward we are going to drop the name of Cruise Night and call it Grudge Racing. Every vehicle that wants to get into our infield area will pay $20 per vehicle. For $20, that vehicle will be able to race as many runs as can be fit in from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For motorcycles, it will be $10 each and will include two tickets for two runs, then they will have to pay $5 per run after.
It is still FREE to park in our Main Lot and walk through the Front Gates and get into the Grandstands and/or Infield.
Vehicles will enter the same way they have been down pit road. You will be quickly inspected and then pay the $20 Pit Entry Fee and given a ticket. From there, the vehicle and occupants will proceed down the pit road entrance to be searched and admitted in.
When you come to the Staging Lanes, you will turn in your ticket and a number will be put on your windshield. That will be all you need to race until 10 p.m. You will be allowed to park in the infield when not racing.
Motorcycles will pay the $10 on Pit Road and be given two tickets, good for two races. Any races you want to do after that will be $5 per run on your bike. You will also be allowed to park in the infield areas with vehicles when you’re not racing.
For those of you who come out for the pure enjoyment of the night, we appreciate it and look forward to having you join us. I personally feel responsible for everyone that comes through all of our gates for every event we have here at Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway and want people to feel safe when they are here.
With that said and so EVERYONE is aware, if we have ONE MORE INCIDENT that escalates into what it did last Wednesday, there will be NO MORE WEDNESDAY GRUDGE RACING AT LANCASTER NATIONAL SPEEDWAY.”
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