17 North Payne Street
Elmsford, NY 10523
Phone: (914) 592-5375
Fax: (914) 292-5397
|Ribbon cutting ceremony at Elmsford Raceway's grand reopening|
|Click any image for a larger view|
The staff at Cactus Jack restaurant showing off their spread at Elmsford.
|Local commissioner of public works joins in the Elmsford celebration.|
|Co-owner Barbara Del Rosario talking with well wishers at Elmsford.||Lou cuts first slice of ceremonial cake as Barbara and Gerry Goldsmith look on.|
|The 220' Nuvolari is back with a new surface thanks to John Marconi and Steve Olgilvie.||Long sweeping turns on the refurbished Deportago track. Lots of racing during the grand reopening week.|
|Hurricane Floyd stopped by for a visit. Elmsford's parking lot the day after.||Soggy Nuvolari is fork lifted to the second floor before being rebuilt.|
|Taking the Nuvolaru apart and removing all the pictures.||County says Elmsford must install sprinkler system. Digging hampered by water felt over from Hurricane Floyd.|
|Two days after the hurricane. Total destruction. Yes, slot car tracks do float!||Stamford Raceway's Jim Vincent helps with celebration at Elmsford's new facility. Jim (right) with Barbara Del Rosario and Greenberg's town supervisor Paul Feiner.|
|Kids of all ages love to race slot cars and that's why the Elmsford has been doing it for nearly four decades.||Bob DeVol and Doug Harrison discuss racing over wine and munchies.|
|Chief of police Frank Nanna, warning Lou and Barbara to do all their speeding on the tracks inside the raceway!||Town supervisor Paul Feiner tries his hand at slot car racing.|
Three times in the nine-year history of this publication - and Elmsford’s 35 year history – we again gladly return to Westchester County, New York because we want to help Barbara and Luis
del Rosario celebrate the Grand (Re)Opening of one of America’s premier slot car facilities.
I would say that virtually every raceway owner in the world has had his or her share of problems – be they during the construction phase just getting started – or down the line a-ways. The same can certainly be said for Elmsford because they’ve certainly had more than their share of problems during the past year!
When It Rains It Pours!
…and that might be an advertising slogan for Morton Salt, but it more than applies to these bad-luck-plagued folks!
It wasn’t bad enough that after nearly 35 years in the same location, the landlord pulled the rug from underneath the del Rosarios and refused to renew their lease. Then Hurricane Floyd came through and did a royal number on the raceway and the entire neighborhood! If that wasn’t enough problems to deal with, they had to dig up the street again in front of the new location.
Lou sent us a lot of pictures of the "before" and "after" phases to give you an idea of what they were up against, virtually for the past six months starting last August. But hard work, blood, sweat, tears and a w-h-o-l-e lot of money later, Elmsford is back open and thriving once again. Hallelujah!
You’ll be able to tell more of what they went through just by looking at the photographs. In addition to the pictures, Lou sent along the stories which were published in the Westchester Journal News – one story from July 19th; the other from the December 18th paper and both articles written by staff writer Robert Marchant.
From July 19, 1999
"A track where generations of slot-car race fans have tested their skill will close next month after more than three decades in the same location.
The Elmsford Raceway is now seeking another location where the miniature cars can speed over hundreds of feet of electrically-charged racetrack.
The business lost its annual $33,000 lease from RBT Co., a local real estate firm, this week. The racetrack, which has another location in Stamford, Connecticut, is expecting to close by the middle of August. The site will be taken over by Princeton Ski Shops which is moving from a nearby mall where a movie complex is being built.
The closing of the old racetrack will take with it many memories. "It will be sad to leave this place, which is so full of tradition and nostalgia – where thousands of people have been part of the raceway experience," said co-owner Lou del Rosario, who runs it with his wife, Barbara.
Recalls Andy Wasserman, a 32-year-old Pleasantville native, "I had a birthday party at Elmsford Raceway when I was only 7 years old. Eleven years later I had won a World Championships at the same raceway. It’s a unique and very challenging track," says Andy. "If you can drive a slot car on that track, you can drive a slot car anywhere! You walk in there and you know you’re in one of the most historical places you can imagine. It really hurts to see it move."
Andy also added, "In the game of slot car racing Elmsford holds a special place, similar to the way Indianapolis and the 500 do for big-car auto racing fans. Elmsford is the ‘Brickyard’ of slot car racetracks."
The 1984 World Championships were hosted at the Elmsford location, Barbara noted. People came from Brazil, Japan and Australia, just to run on the Nuvolari track.
The del Rosarios – who also compete in 1/1-auto races, are looking hard for a 4,000 sq. ft. site where they can resume the business. "Hopefully, we’ll be up and running by Thanksgiving," said Lou.
Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said he was disheartened to see the raceway move out and hoped the business would relocate in a nearby location. "It’s tough to lose a business like that," he said. "They’ve really been an asset to the community."
Raceway manager for nine years, Paul Gelman said, "I enjoyed being around and involved in a business that brought happiness to young people and families through the years. It’s a business that keeps you young and it is rewarding," he said.
Another slot car track recently opened in Cortland, the only other one in Westchester County.
Attorney Louis Soloway, representing the landlords, had no comment when asked about the termination of the lease."
Five months later, on December 18th, Mr. Marchant wrote:
"Elmsford Raceway, where slot car racers have taken the checkered flag or crashed in ignominious defeat for over 34 years, is reopening today.
The raceway, where miniature cars speed over three electrified track surfaces, survived the loss of nearly $500,000 in equipment and merchandise from flooding in Hurricane Floyd as well as losing their lease, has reopened at 17 North Payne St.
"We were looking all over the place and all of our customers really went out of their way to make us stay in the area," said co-owner Luis del Rosario. The new location, about twice the size of the former raceway, is just three blocks from the former site.
"It’s an ideal building," Lou said. "We’ll be able to do more stuff at the new place than we were ever able to do before."
The town of Greenburgh has renamed the block where Elmsford has reopened. It will now be called "Raceway Lane."
Despite the popularity of video games and other forms of recreation for young people, slot car racing still has a strong appeal, said Barbara."
And we echo that sentiment 100%! There’s nothing like slot car racing anywhere in the world for the best, in fun and wholesome family fun!
A huge "Thanks-A-Million" has to go to contractor John Marconi and Track Builder Steve Ogilvie (and many, many volunteer helpers!) for the incredible job of moving everything; rebuilding all the tracks from the ground up – including all new MDF racing surfaces – and getting the new place ready to open. Lou was honest…he said, "They did all the work. I just supervised."
We’re only sorry we missed the Grand Re-Opening, but one of these days, Good Lord willing and no more floods from hurricanes, we’ll get up to see the new raceway – now with Two Floors of Flat Out Fun!