While the cities of Charlotte, Indianapolis and Daytona are typically what come to mind when thinking of automobile racing in the United States, the city of White Plains, New York, along with other N.Y. Metro area municipalities, has a much longer historical connection to racing. This week, White Plains continued that tradition as it was the site of early conversations and planning for the just announced Superstar Racing Experience, SRX, a partnership among NASCAR Hall of Famer’s Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham, former NASCAR COO and now financier, George Pyne and Sandy Montag, principal of The Montag Group media agency. Tony Stewart has already signed on to drive and Evernham hopes to have his former Hendrick Motor Sports driver, Jeff Gordon sign on as well.
Above From Left: Tony Stewart. Photo Credit Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
Ray Evernham. Photo Credit Zach Catanzareti Photo / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
George Pyne. Photo Credit Mennawater / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Jeff Gordon. Photo Credit Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
As previously reported in MetroSports Magazine, America’s second officially-sanctioned automobile race, the 1896 Cosmopolitan Race, was run on the streets of Manhattan, the Bronx, Yonkers, Hastings, Ardsley and Irvington, running from New York’s City Hall to the Ardsley Country Club near the site of Cosmopolitan Magazine’s then headquarters. In 1908, America’s first international stock car road race, the 1908 Briarcliff Trophy Race, was run through the Westchester towns of Briarcliff Manor, Millwood, Yorktown, Mt. Kisco, Armonk, Kensico, Valhalla, Eastview and Pocantico. One of the team garages for the 1908 Briarcliff Race was located at the Mammoth Garage in White Plains, which sat on the corner of Mamaroneck Avenue and Post Road.
Located less than 1/2 mile from the site of that former garage, and 3 miles from the site of the 1910 White Plains Hill Climb Race on Anderson Hill Road, sits the White Plains Renaissance Square, home to the offices of George Pyne’s Bruin Sports Capital and Sandy Montag’s media agency, The Montag Group. Pyne formerly rose up the ranks of NASCAR to serve as COO.
It was at this site in White Plains that the initial discussions about forming the new SRX racing series took place. As quoted in Sports Business Daily, Montag notes that “George and I were B.S.-ing one night, and he asked me what I thought of this idea. We started brainstorming, and he brought me into the equation. After many, many discussions we decided to form SRX with Ray, George, myself. After some conversations, we brought in Tony Stewart. We really wanted to build a stand-alone property that would really improve on the experience for auto racing in a way that is fan-friendly, television-friendly, sponsor-friendly.”
Above: Renaissance Square in White Plains, New York. Site of the meeting between George Pyne and Sandy Montag where the SRG Racing Series was conceived. Photo Credit Warren Rosenberg www.nyspg.com
Other notables in White Plains auto racing history are racers Ray “Zero” Brown, a stock car racer in the 1940s and 50s and Bobby Albert and dirt racer in the 1940s driving modified cars and midgets in the 1940s, both White Plains natives. The City also hosted auto races on the 1 mile dirt track at the White Plains Fairgrounds in 1911 and 1912 located at the western edge of the city on the border of the town of Greenburgh.
The Superstar Racing Experience has signed a contract with the CBS Sports network to broadcast 6 races, featuring 12 notable drivers from different auto racing series in identical cars designed by Evernham, on short tracks across the U.S. The series is scheduled to run on Saturday nights and feature two 45 minute heats. For New York metro area racing fans, Evernham has indicated that one of those track might be Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut, approximately 120 miles from White Plains’ Renaissance Square.
In addition to Stewart who has already signed on to race in the SRX series, former NASCAR cup driver Greg Biffle, former Indy Car Champion and Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion Sebastien Bourdais have all expressed interest.
Look for more on the SRX racing series in the upcoming July/August issue of MetroSports Magazine.