Just days after the stock car racing portion of the schedule at Elegant Builders Raceway Park in Lancaster was cancelled, taking with it the Tommy Druar-Tony Jankowiak Memorial RoC Modified race and the US Open, a North Carolina businessman has stepped up to the plate along with one of the sons of the late drivers and got the US Open back on the racing schedule – and with it, the memorial race.
Andy Jankowiak and Joe Stotnicki have teamed up with Bill Catania, owner and operator of Short Track Management out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to promote the event, which remains three days in length, Friday through Sunday, September 19th through 21st. The Druar-Jankowiak Memorial 125 will take place Sunday, September 21st as a Race of Champions Asphalt Modified race.
“Lancaster is an important race track in the history of modified racing and the Tony/Tommy race is a traditional celebration and memorial to honor two of the best Modified racers from the Western New York area. When the race was originally cancelled, we felt an obligation to it,” said Jankowiak. “I contacted Joe (Skotnicki) to utilize his experience and we went to work.”
“Both Joe and I wanted the race at Lancaster,” he continued. “However, terms could not be met and we moved forward. John White at Spencer was willing to help and host the race. We cannot thank him enough for being willing to take the risk. Other factors determined the fate of this however we never gave up and spent countless hours making sure it would happen.”
Catania, who is from Westfield, New York and has raced Late Models in the US Open in the past, also owns Stateline Speedway in Busti, and believes he can return the Lancaster-based track to its former glory if given the opportunity.
“The business model for Short Track Management is to purchase and renovate tracks that have really great opportunities,” said Catania. “We see Lancaster as being one of those tracks. I’m looking at acquiring it, but before I acquire it I thought I’d promote this event and see how it goes.”
“That race track was notorious for huge car counts much through the 2000’s,” he continued. “There have been some shifts in the economy, naturally, but there have also been some changes at the race track. They’ve not done real well the past few years. We believe with the infusion of capital, we can bring the potential of this facility to life.”
Catania has set goals for the US Open weekend: “I’d like to see 150 cars,” he stated. “We have eight classes that are going to run, seven for sure. We’re still deciding on Late Models. If we can just get it to 150 cars and get 3,000 fans come out, I believe that will be a victory.”
For more information on the US Open call (336) 793-8465 or log on to www.lancasterusopen.com. There is also an event Facebook page and a Twitter feed that will be providing information as it becomes available.
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