By Vincent Ball and Giselle Miranda
The paint job on the purple 1964 Chevy Nova reflected like a funhouse mirror. There was one part on the car’s body, however, that stuck out for its jagged edges; a bumper sticker that read “L.I. Needs a Dragstrip.”
The decals were a common sight, as the “L.I. Needs a Dragstrip” group hosted a car show on Tuesday, at Holtsville’s Jesus is Lord Church. It was the first weekly show that will take place until November, in order to push for the development of a drag strip on Long Island.
“Everyone that’s into racing and car shows on Long Island realizes that we need a racetrack back,” John Cozzali, founder of the group, said. “It’s educating the people that aren’t educated in the sport that there is a need for this to be back.”
Last week, the group of motorsports fanatics also had their first meeting with a Suffolk County Legislative task force committee in charge of assisting with the development of a drag strip on Long Island.
“The meeting with the Suffolk County Legislatures and the Task Force was very productive,” Johnny Consoli, a member of L.I. Needs a Drag Strip said. “They will be working with us to help identify pieces of land that would allow us to put our motorsports park in place. This is very early on in the process so things have just begun.”
One of the biggest obstacles facing the group is securing 100 acres of land on the island, which is the minimum amount required for a regulation drag strip. But for members of the task force, there will be more to address than just acreage.
“Some considerations include size, zoning, proximity to residential housing, noise and access considerations,” Tom Cimli, a Suffolk County legislator, said.
Long Island last had a drag strip located in Westhampton, but as a result of noise pollution, the site was shut down. When it comes to settling on a new location, members of the task force don’t want another drag strip to have a similar fate.
“Since the last race track closed in 2004, everybody that’s into racing has had to leave Long Island to do it,” Cozalli said. “It’ll promote jobs, it’ll bring revenue and tourism back to Long Island that was once here when we had race tracks.”
At this time, however, it’s unclear how significant that economic impact will be.
“This is for the committee to determine,” Catherine Stark, a Suffolk County representative explained. “They have met once and requested the Department of Economic Development complete a financial analysis.”
Since beginning 10 months ago, the L.I. Needs a Drag Strip group has amassed more than 14,000 members on Facebook. They will soon be creating a Go Fund Me page to generate revenue for a new location that has not yet been determined.