05-21-2002, 06:32 AM
RIAC denied RI Raceway park claiming safety concerns for the Air Guard base. It disgusts me that they would hide behind the tragic events of Sept 11th . If this was truly the case they would have shut down the nearby golf course and public roadway that comes within 100 ft of the Air Guard base.
The part that makes me really mad is that I believe thay knew their answer long before sending the promoters on a wild goose chase, hoping that someone else would be the bad guy.
It is clear that there is major support for this in the state of RI. An opponent of the track could only muster less than 1 percent of the population of NK to sign a petition against the track. The promoters have asked to meet with the airport corp. There may still be light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh well, at least New Hampshire wants my money.
05-25-2002, 08:28 AM
This was in last weeks Providence Business News
Drag racing promoters eagerly awaiting airport corp. OK
By K. Alexa Mavromatis
Ken Swain stands by his modified
Rhode Island Raceway Park, Inc. is still awaiting the green light from the Rhode Island Airport Corporation regarding the use of a Quonset Point taxiway for its proposed series of drag racing events.
Rhode Island Raceway Park, Inc. – made up of North Kingstown residents Charlie Eldred, Russ Johnson, Joe Pucino and John Sousa – filed an application for an annual license, which was approved by the North Kingstown Town Council in March. The application requested permission to host racing events with vendors on 15 weekends from April to October.
Despite approval from the town, no events have been held, pending a final decision from the Airport Corporation, which will ultimately determine the fate of the license.
"If the Airport Corporation says yes, it can go ahead," said North Kingstown Town Manager Rich Kerbel.
Dan Clarke, director of property management for the Airport Corporation, said he expects to announce a decision in the next couple of weeks.
"We’re still in information-gathering mode," he said.
The Airport Corporation, Clarke said, has asked for input from the Rhode Island National Guard, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and the Federal Aviation Administration. The Airport Corporation has received a number of phone calls from businesses and individuals, both for and against the proposed events, Clarke said.
Pucino, president of Rhode Island Raceway Park, said the group hosted a four-day race at Quonset Point in 1994 to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation that was well-attended and generated no complaints. Pucino explained that cars that race at Quonset would be muffled to reduce the volume of noise. Each car would also receive technical and safety inspections, and drivers would be required to wear helmets.
Pucino said Rhode Island Raceway Park has already conducted sound tests in the neighborhoods surrounding Quonset, consulted with the North Kingstown police and fire departments about traffic management and safety at the events, and with the sanitation department regarding trash pickup.
There are no tracks in Rhode Island that are sanctioned for drag racing yet, but Pucino believes there is an untapped market here.
"I’ve seen 300 to 400 cars just at a cruising event," he said. "It’s a pretty big following . . . Kids play hockey and basketball and baseball. There are kids out there who want to race, but have no place to do it."
The group has interested backers, Pucino said, but without concrete information from the Airport Corporation about what will be allowed, the events, as yet, have no official sponsors.
"We’ve got to have a little more information," he said.
Westerly resident Ken Swain, who has participated in drag racing off and on since his high school days in the late 1950s and early 1960s, would like to see drag racing find a home in Rhode Island.
A self-proclaimed advocate for the sport, Swain said that drag racing instills safe driving practices and teaches young people discipline, responsibility and respect for authority. These are qualities, he said, his own son, now a 20-year-old college student, gained from his experiences at tracks in New Hampshire and upstate New York as a junior drag racer.
"A lot of kids today, they don’t feel rules apply to them, but in order to participate (in races), you have to follow the rules," he said.
The miniature cars used in junior drag races can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, Swain said.
Swain said another beneficial aspect of the sport is its emphasis on technical skills.
"As you get more involved, you learn to respect your car," he said. "A lot of kids can’t relate to what they learn in school until they apply it."
Swain said public perception is an obstacle for the sport. Drag races – which are held in eighth-mile and quarter-mile distances on a straight course – are commonly confused with street races, he said, which are illegal.
Dale S. Nelson, who owns custom stair company D. S. Nelson Co. Inc., which is located at Quonset Point, expressed concerns about the noise level, traffic and crowds, but admitted that overall his feelings were "lukewarm."
"If kids get a lot out of it and the parents love it, how could I be against that?" he said.
Rudi Hempe, editor of the North Kingstown Standard-Times for more than 30 years, described the community’s reaction to the prospect of a drag strip as "divided." Those who are opposed, he said, may feel such a raceway would negatively affect Quonset Point’s attractiveness to companies interested in moving there.
Hempe said that a racing event held at the airstrip a few years ago did not have an impact on his daughter’s wedding reception, held at the nearby officer’s club.
"When we heard that was going to be going on, I thought ‘There goes our reception,’ but I didn’t hear anything," he said.
© Copyright 2000 Providence Business News Inc. All rights reserved.
05-28-2002, 08:11 PM
thats too bad jim , ri airport is a fool, and its a quasi type deal is the way it was explained to me back in 94, its awierd deal they are a private company runnning it for the state. wierd weel vote them out or find another place, and yes as long as your a street car nh will want you. congrats on your win and keeep fighting for it.
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