Story By: KENNY SHUPP / WOODHULL RACEWAY – WOODHULL, NY – Woodhull Raceway owners, Terry and Niki Brewer recently completed the tracks schedule of events for the 2022 race season.
It all gets underway with practice set for Saturday, April 2 and 9 where the track will be open both dates for test and tune. Drivers will be able to get plenty of track time each night to shake off the rust and make sure all the equipment is ready to roll when the track opens for the regular season on Saturday, April 23, 2022. Times for practice will be released as the dates get closer.
“On many occasions the early April weather can be a nuisance, stated the Brewer’s. We have seen over the years where there was still a foot of snow on the ground in April and other times it has been dry and beautiful. You just can never predict how it will turn out, but with having two dates it is a good bet that one of the practice nights will see clear weather. Hopefully both!”
The 2022 season at the famed Steuben County facility will find the return of all eight of the weekly divisions including the Open Modifieds and 602 Crate Sportsman both running on American Racer Tires. The RUSH Crate Late Models will return along with the Street Stocks and the Hobby Stocks. A pair of 4 Cylinder classes in the Mini Stocks and Front Wheel Drive Divisions will be back along with the Woodhull Warrior’s.
On April 16, The Woodhull Raceway will swing the gates for their 57th consecutive season of race action as the NAPA Crate Sportsman will start off the 2022 campaign with a $1,000 to win special and they will be complimented by the Crate Late Models, Street’s, Hobby Stocks, Mini, FWD and Warriors. The Insinger Modifieds will have the night off, however they will make their debut the following Saturday on April 23 with their $2,000 to win season lid lifter.
As they have in seasons past at Woodhull, a pair of Patriot Sprint Tour shows will be run on May 7 and August 13.
“The 360 Sprints have always gone over extremely well here at Woodhull, claimed track owner, Niki Brewer. The Patriots are an exceptionally good group and they have put on exciting shows since they have been coming here and the fans absolutely love watching the 360 Sprints as they try and tame the high banks.”
The George Williams Memorial will kick off the first official holiday weekend of the summer on Memorial Day Weekend highlighted by a 30 lap, $2,500 to win Modified Special in addition to all the regular weekly divisions.
Jim Williams began a tradition at Woodhull half a century ago by putting on a huge fireworks show around July 4. That same tradition has continued to grow into one of the area’s most prolific Fireworks Extravaganza’s and this year’s event promises to be the best yet on June 25 with the Annual Jim Williams Memorial featuring a Great 8 Show.
Other dates that jump out on the 2022 schedule include the NY 600 Sprint night on July 9, The Big Bop Dirty 30 Hobby Stock event along with a $2500 to win Modified Special on September 4 followed the next Saturday by the season ending Full Fender Night featuring the Joe Willcox Performance Street Stock Woodhull 100.
Traditional events that have historically provided great excitement for drivers and fans alike include King of the Ring Challenge Events for the Hobby Stocks on June 4, Late Models on June 11, Crate Sportsman July 2, Street Stocks on July 16 with the Modifieds holding their King of the Ring event on July 31.
Something all new in “22” will be the Inaugural Race of Remembrance on Saturday, June 18 where each feature winner in all the adult classes will receive an extra $200 for their feature victories.
“We wanted to do things differently this coming season. With so much loss of life over the past several years, we have said good- bye to many members of our local race community. This event will honor those drivers that have fallen throughout the history of the track as well as car owners, crew members, track officials, employees, fans and sponsors. This will be a tribute to all of them.”
Also on the 2022 schedule card will be another new event honoring the late Alice Williams, who for decades was recognized as the First Lady of the Woodhull Raceway.
“We included the Honoring Alice Race on Saturday, August 6. In her memory the track will put on a $5,000 to win Modified Feature Event, the highest paying non-sanctioned Modified show ever held at the track in its history. With the kind of purse that will be paid out on that night it will definitely get the attention of many Modified teams throughout the northeast.”
Nights that are designated to fan appreciation include the May 7 Bed Sheet Banner Contest, Christmas in July Bicycle Give-A-Way on July 9 along with Back-to-School Backpack Night on August 20.
“The track has always prided itself in giving back to our loyal fan base, claimed the Brewer’s. We have found a niche in what strikes a nerve with the parents and kids. We will continue that tradition in 2022.”
August 27 will be high lighted by the return of the popular Vintage Cars run in conjunction with a Great 8 Show. Adults and youngsters alike enjoy the sights and sounds of what racing was like half a century ago.
Since taking ownership of the Woodhull Raceway three years ago, track owners Niki and Terry Brewer have been swimming upstream. After purchasing the facility in 2020, the Covid 19 Pandemic hit hard, and with-it came strict protocol laid down by New York State official. Fans were not allowed access to the facility thus the track management was forced into a situation of racing in front of empty grandstands and no special events.
“We had to deal with the cards that were delt us which meant that if we wanted to open in 2020 it would be done so with a break-even philosophy in mind. We did salvage some of the year, but it was tough. Then last year in 2021 we had seven rainouts including a massive flood in August which totally devastated the region. It’s been a rough couple of years for sure!”
Covid is still fresh on everyone’s mind and with the constantly changing climate at the state level regarding masking, vaccinations and forced closures, the Brewers are very conservating in their approach to 2022 and their schedule of events reflects that fact.
“With everything that is going on in this country there is a huge cloud of uncertainty of what will happen next. Prices on everything have gone to the moon including food, beverages and gas at the pump. The racers are going to get creamed this year with huge jumps in tire and racing fuel prices to say nothing about engine components and bolt on parts. With all that in mind we are keeping our schedule simple and basic. Other than the 360 Patriots and the 600’s there really aren’t any outside touring groups coming in this year. Instead, we are beefing up our weekly purses and paying more for many of our track specials with the money going back to our locals that support the track week after week.”
Since George Williams designed and built the Woodhull Raceway in the mid-1960’s there have been four other promoters of the facility. They have learned over time what works and what does not. Prior to taking ownership of the facility Terry and Niki Brewer were car owners and weekly fans of the historic Steuben County speed plant and they were able to witness first-hand what the fans and drivers’ needs and desires are and the 2022 Woodhull Raceway Schedule of Events reflects that.
“There is so much uncertainty going into the season that our approach will be to take care of the fans, sponsors and race teams that continue to support this place. We want to make sure our regulars can still be able to race weekly even with all the continual price increases. We cannot get top heavy with our schedule which leads to added costs for race teams and fans. It is already going to cost them a small fortune just to get to the track, so we must do our best to stabilize overhead costs. That once again according to the Brewer’s.
To put a wrap on the 2022 season the Annual Woodhull Raceway Awards Banquet will again be held right at the track on Saturday, October 1.
The first year the Brewer’s owned and promoted the track they held a season ending awards banquet which surprised many supporters. With the ban on race fans, any additional revenue was almost non-existent with everything coming only thru the back gate, however the banquet did go on with drivers receiving point money, trophies and plaques.
“We put up a huge outdoor tent right in the parking lot of the track. It was so well received by the drivers and fans that we did it again last year in 2021 with a well-supported event. We will follow that pattern and host the Awards Banquet at the track once again. We prefer doing it in the fall before the weather gets bad plus we can get the awards and money out to the racers going into the off season.”
For the third consecutive year, The Nikk L Brew Restaurant and Bar in Canisteo will take care of all catering for the Awards Banquet Event.
Hard copies of the 2022 Woodhull Raceway Schedule of Events will be available at the upcoming Arnot Mall Car Show on Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13.