By Elizabeth Riggs
Boogity, boogity, boogity – let’s go racing! A mere 20 minutes from Springville is Holland International Speedway, the only NASCAR-sanctioned race track in Western New York.
Since 1967, the Holland Speedway has been hosting Whelen series and special events on a 3/8-mile track, where drivers are not only competing in friendly competition— their race results also help them to win NASCAR points.
“At Holland Speedway, you are also racing for the weekly purse in addition to the season ending points fund. If you accumulate enough, you would be in the running against other drivers nationally,” said Holland Speedway Operations Manager Dan Sellon.
In addition to winning NASCAR points at the track, drivers are also competing for local recognition.
“There’s a season champion crowned here at Holland,” Sellon said. “Our champion is invited down to Charlotte for a season-ending banquet.”
Holland features races every Saturday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day, typically featuring seven or eight total division races, four of which are NASCAR divisions.
The track first began in 1960 when a group of friends and business partners, one of whom is now Track President (Ron Bennett), built a track out of a cornfield. It was first dirt, and then paved, and now all asphalt.
According to Sellon, the track’s success over the years can be credited to the growth of NASCAR itself.
“We get a lot of carryover from the top divisions of NASCAR. Fans of those guys can relate to everything we have here because the sponsors and lingo are the same. A lot of the buzz and feelings about it are the same,” said Sellon.
In fact, the track has hosted of a few of the most popular drivers over the years.
“It’s been a couple years, but Martin Truex Jr. raced here. We’ve had a litany of guys that have come up in the ranks here,” Sellon said. “The ties are definitely there.”
Sellon says the way the track was built makes it appealing to drivers.
“It is truly a driver’s track. To learn this track is tricky. It definitely has a very special feel to it,” Sellon said. “We’re the only banks track – even on the straightaways, there is some banking to it. In turns one and two and three and four, it’s steep banking, so to be able to learn how to navigate your way up and down the track is tricky.”
And according to Sellon, drivers can begin learning at the young age of 14.
“You can get a NASCAR license at age 14, so even before you can drive, you can race with us,” Sellon said. “We’ve got a rookie 4 division, it’s a one and done. You can race for one year whether you’re 14 or 44, but it’s specifically tailored to the younger drivers.”
But the track also has something for drivers or every age and skill level, and also hosts private teambuilding sessions for guests ranging from corporate businesses to sports teams.
“We do tons of team building. The Buffalo Sabres have been here and all kinds of sports programs from basketball to soccer to lacrosse, and local colleges have been here as well as the corporations from Western New York,” Sellon said.
For teambuilding events, the track has two drivers racing head to head at a time, all competing within a survivor bracket. And while it may sound a bit dangerous, Sellon assures that it isn’t.
“They are lucky if they get over 40 miles an hour. We never have any real issues,” he said.
But a trip to the Speedway doesn’t need to be limited to just races.
“There’s a lot more than just racing. We host field trips where students can fish in the pond. We have a 5k trail that we’ve done sanctioned runs on. We’ve got a midway that has a carnival fair theme. We have a BB gun range,” Sellon said. “You can honestly come to the race night and you’d be entertained without even watching a race.”
The Holland International Speedway is located at 11586 Glenwood Road, Holland. For more information, visit their website: www.hollandspeedway.com.