Drag Illustrated Issue 178, September / October 2022 - Page 128

✖ DRAG ILLUSTRATED ROUNDTABLE ✖ ple Grove Raceway in April this year . Over the summer , the Koretskys have invested time and money into improvements to prepare for the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals in mid-September . After calling Maple Grove their home track for decades , Koretsky and his family are dedicated to preserving the historic Reading , Pennsylvania , track for the next generation .
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What motivated you to get into the business of owning and operating a dragstrip ? FRANKLIN : I think the easy answer is just the preservation of the sport . It wasn ’ t like I was doing it for a business venture as much as just trying to preserve another racetrack . They seem to be going away quicker than they ’ re being built . It ’ s a good racetrack in our area and we have a lot of events at it . We don ’ t want to see them go away . BARTUNEK : Years ago , there was a bracket racer from up in northeast New Jersey named Jim Harrington . He was a fabulous Stock / Super Stock racer . Him and I were really good friends . Back in the ‘ 80s , him and I always talked about possibly getting a racetrack and him being the promoter of it . Jim moved to North Carolina and he had a drag racing school . Unfortunately , he wound up passing away . Obviously , that never materialized .
But when I retired two years ago and moved to North Carolina , I always had that “ I want to have a racetrack ” type of feeling . I went and looked at Wilkesboro because that came up for sale . Me and my wife rode up there one weekend and took a look at that place . It ’ s a pretty neat place . It ’ s small , it ’ s old , but it just didn ’ t really have what I was looking for . I was looking for something that had a little more property and was a little more up to date .
I was talking with Mike Baker from IHRA and he had said to me , “ Have you ever heard of Union Dragway ?” The funny part about Union Dragway is , in the town of Union , that ’ s where the Aruba Pro Stock team has their race shop . In 2018 , I wound up driving that race car for five races . One day when I left the race shop , I drove up to the racetrack and it was closed . I said to Mike , “ I know where that racetrack is .” He told me it ’ s going to be coming up for sale .
So he gave me Tony Brown ’ s number , who actually had the lease at that time . Tony used to race IHRA Super Stock . I called Tony and I knew who he was and he knew who I was . The next thing you know , I met him and he told me all about the track and the guy who owned it . Here we are . It took about a year to make the deal before we finally finalized it . KORETSKY : Well , I looked at it as a real estate play , to be honest . We ’ re in the real estate business . The fact that there was a track there was good because we ’ re racers and I didn ’ t really want to see the track close . We lost Englishtown a couple years ago , and I wanted a place for my friends and us to race . That ’ s really the reason why I did it . I don ’ t know how long I ’ ll do it for . As long as we have support from the racing community , we ’ ll keep going .
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How has your background as a racer informed your decisions as a track owner ? FRANKLIN : I think having the perspective as a racer , you understand a little bit more about what racers want . I think that ’ s good at times . The part that makes it hard is it ’ s a business as well . You still have bills to pay . You have to make the right business decisions for the business to be there for the future . Being a racer is good in many ways because it helps you understand what they want . But it obviously has its challenges because sometimes it ’ s not easy to give a racers everything they typically want from a facility . BARTUNEK : A lot of people obviously look at it as a business , which I do , of course , being a businessman , but when you have a background as a racer , you kind of understand what racers want when they show up at a facility . Me being a racer for 30 years , every time I showed up at a place , you wanted the place to be clean and neat , the racetrack was good , the bathrooms were nice , so on and so forth . I think that ’ s a big plus for
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