Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, left, with a plaque presented to her by the LI Needs a Drag Strip group on the EPCAL runway at the first "Race Track, Not Street" event last month. She is pictured with Pete Scalzo and Maree Moscati, organizers of the "Race Track, Not Street" drag racing series. File photo: Alek Lewis

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said she would support making an unused airstrip at the Enterprise Park in Calverton a permanent site for racing. 

During her weekly interview on Tuesday on WRIV’s “Dawn Patrol” program, host Bruce Tria asked Aguiar whether she could see the runway used permanently as a racetrack if the current agreement for the property’s use with Calverton Aviation and Technology falls through.

“We have proven that it does work. It’s the perfect location for it,” Aguiar said. “It would be something that the board would have to decide collectively. I see it. We’d have to make sure at least three other individuals see it. It was very, very successful.”

Her comment came after Aguiar touted the success of the eighth-mile drag race event “Race Track, Not Street” after its closing this past weekend. All but one of the event’s eight scheduled dates were sold out, although one day was rained out due to Hurricane Henri. 

The events gave an economic boost to the town, Aguiar said, with local restaurants, delis and hotels getting business boosts from the events. The event also drew sponsors from businesses across Long Island. 

“Race Track, Not Street” drag racing promoter Peter Scalzo told RiverheadLOCAL he applied for a permit to hold drag-racing events on weekends in October, before withdrawing them in light of the town’s commitment to allow Insurance Auto Auctions use the space to store cars damaged by the floodwaters of storm Ida. Scalzo also said he hopes to be able to hold drag racing events at EPCAL again next year.

Another drag racing event, the “Scrambul Runway Challenge,” is scheduled to hold a two-day event on the weekend of Sept. 25-26.

The Facebook page for “Race Track, Not Street” is actively pushing for Aguiar’s reelection in Facebook posts this week.

Future use of the runway for racing depends on the status of the deal with CAT. The town entered a $40 million land deal with CAT in 2018, but can’t close the deal without a final subdivision approval and that is hung up because the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s requirements the town hasn’t been able to meet for two regulatory permits. The town sued the DEC in February, seeking to have the agency’s “notice of incomplete application” set aside. That case remains pending. Critics of the deal have also raised concerns about the financial condition of CAT’s parent company, Triple Five Group, whose mega malls have suffered in the COVID-19 pandemic, but a letter from a public accounting firm presented to the board in July said the company still has the money to pay for the land.

Aguiar did not respond to requests for further comment today

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.