The Last Race is a story some know all too well, while others might not have ever thought about it: It’s the story of the fight to keep a community tradition alive, with commercial development closing in from all sides as the value of the land that tradition clings to continues to skyrocket. It’s the apprehension around the seemingly inevitable—the sale of the last remaining race track in a region. The story of small tracks and their struggle to stay alive amidst the decline of stock-car and local asphalt racing is a story not many outside of those local communities tell or even know exists, and The Last Race, released last month, tells it extremely well. It does that by profiling the quarter-mile Riverhead Raceway in Long Island, New York that’s been around since 1949, as tracks all around it have closed over the years. Grocery stores, shopping centers and restaurants are popping up all around the track, closing in on it as property values increase, real-estate agents swarm, and its aging owners struggle to keep putting the effort in. Small tracks like Riverhead were sprinkled all across the U.S. decades ago, with some areas having several to choose from. It provided a slight hope for hobby racers looking to work their way up the pipeline without connections or family money, as well as a place for hobby racers to go if that’s all they ever wanted to be. But as is obvious from the Lost Speedways project and from… [Read full story]
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