When the local auto racing season finally kicks into high gear after what has been a cold, long winter, Steve Skrobacz will look to leave an impression.
Skrobacz, of Elma, has been appointed by Elegant Builder’s Raceway Park promoter Ralph Galluzzi as the Lancaster-based track’s new operations manager.
Skrobacz is a former winning snowmobile (sled) drag racer who served the last three seasons at at the track as a drag racing burnout box technician and, in addition, last year as an stock car racing tech official.
“I started in drag racing many years ago, crewing for Glenn and Sharon Hughes when they both raced dragsters,” recalled Skrobacz. “Then in 1999 I got involved as a competitor myself as a rookie in the snowmobile drag racing. I raced regularly for about ten years and had much success winning mostly in Western and Central New York. My best years were 2004, 2005 and 2006.”
In 2005, Skrobacz almost won the championship at the Lancaster track tying Bill DiFranco in the point championship standings after the final race. DiFranco was named the champion later that weekend after the title was decided on a tiebreaker.
“I basically stopped drag racing as a competitor in 2010,” Skrobacz said. “I did borrow a sled in 2012 and raced one time at Empire Dragway (in Leicester) and I made the semifinals that time so I guess I hadn’t lost the touch too much. But I’m an official now and I’ve been concentrating on that and now this new operations manager job.”
For Skrobacz, he knows that there will be a learning curve involved with his new position at the racing facility but believes he has built a resume that makes him ready for the job.
“I’ve been an official at EBRP for three years now,” said Skrobacz, who turns 54 next month. “I was urged by a couple of officials to go and talk to Ralph this winter about the possibility of becoming the operations manager. They felt I was knowledgeable, punctual, good at returning phone calls and emails and basically dealing with people. So I met with Ralph and was named operations manager in January.”
Skrobacz says he has been busy trying to plan for the 2014 season.
“I had a meeting two weeks ago with the Street Stock stock car class, we, meaning myself and the drivers and we all seem to now be on the same page,” he said. “One of the big things decided is to open up the Street Stock rules to allow racers from other tracks to come to our track and try it out. I have an open practice set for May 3 and invite anyone from other tracks to come out and get the cobwebs out of their cars. All cars of course must past the safety tech.
“One of the big things on the drag racing side is that we are having the GRS Gasser Racing Series four times this year with one of those being the annual Sunday Niagara event.”
Skrobacz also acknowledges the importance of communicating closely with all the public that make their racing home each week at Elegant Builders Raceway Park in both the stock car and drag racing programs.
“We just need to communicate here with the drivers, teams, officials, sponsors and fans and rebuild a little bit,” stressed Skrobacz. “I have a lot of experience as a supervisor in the heavy manufacturing industry where you have to do everything you can to produce a good product everyday. The same is true in racing where we have to do a good job of producing our product to a higher level for people who come to EBRP, especially the fans.
“I look forward to the upcoming season and hope it will be a dry one.”
Galluzzi also wants fans to be aware that it’s full speed ahead for the 2014 campaign.
“This year we are going to bring back the stock cars for 13 events, which includes the U.S. Open,” said Galluzzi. “Also included in that schedule, are four races for the ROC Modified Tour. On the drag side we will host the annual Nitro Night of Fire, which again will feature Top Fuel Dragster drivers Bobby Lagana Jr., and Bruce Litton along with jet vehicles and wheel-standers. The four Sunday appearances of the GRS Gasser Series will also feature Street Outlaws, No-Box eliminations and Bike/Sleds.
“The complete schedule for stocks and drags will be out in the first week in March and we are also presently redesigning our website as well.”
• Erick Rudolph and Andy Jankowiak won TQ Midget features during the indoor racing event two weeks ago in Trenton, N.J.
• The Holland Motorsports Complex schedule which was released two weeks ago will included two NASCAR Pro Modified Budweiser 100’s this season. The first, a rain-postponed edition from last September, will be run June 7, and the 2014 Budweiser 100 will go green on Sept. 6. The Race of Champions Modified Tour visits for the Holland 100 on July 5.
• The 358 Modified and Sportsman divisions will utilize electronic scoring transponders attached to their cars this season at Ransomville Speedway. The complete Freedom Speedway 2014 schedule has been released as well.