Former Riverhead Raceway Owner Jim Cromarty Passes

(Press Release from Riverhead Raceway)

Still reeling from the passing of Tom Kraft in late July, the Long Island racing family received the sad news that former Riverhead Raceway owner and promoter Jim Cromarty, 91 passed away early Sunday morning August 13th. His loving wife Barbara was at his side.

In 1977 Barbara & Jim Cromarty were introduced to the NASCAR stock car racing family as the new lease holder of Islip Speedway. The couple came to racing with very little knowledge of the sport, but their promotional credits were numerous. Prior to their involvement at Islip Speedway, Barbara and Jim promoted the Long Island Ducks of the Eastern Hockey League, the Suffolk County Fair, Roller ‘N Ice, an indoor roller skating & ice skating venue in Copiague, as well operating a successful telemarketing firm, Suffolk Productions The couple leased Islip Speedway through 1984 when the final show was presented in September after the property owner sold the 26-acre parcel to Silver Lake Cookie. 

Undaunted, Barbara and Jim approached Riverhead Raceway owners Ed & Clara Hawkins, from whom they leased Riverhead for some Friday night NASCAR racing over the years to purchase the Route 58 facility, which they did in the off season leading up to 1985. From 1985 through 2015 Barbara & Jim presented NASCAR racing and family entertainment events at the track. Even when property values along the Route 58 corridor skyrocketed, Jim turned down numerous lucrative non-racing offers on the property so Barbara and he could keep racing alive on Long Island, they made it a non-negotiable point. During the 2015 season it was announced that Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz has entered into an agreement to buy Riverhead Raceway to continue the tradition of stock car racing moving forward. 

Barbara & Jim Cromarty resided during the race season in Manhattan and winter just outside of Miami, taking up full time residence there after retiring in 2015. Aside from racing, Jim loved boating along the south shore of Long Island, the occasional round of golf, and horse racing. Barbara & Jim also enjoyed traveling to Europe, Broadway shows and fine dining.

“Jim was the most positive, loving person you could meet” Bob Finan, who worked with the Cromarty’s from 1979-2015 recalled. “No matter how bad things might have looked, Jim always found sunshine through the rain. Always upbeat. The love Barbara & Jim shared for each other was amazing, and they spread it to those around them. Every conversation face to face, or a chat on the phone ended with love you”.

During times like these family and friends gather to recall what a full life and how much fun an individual enjoyed during their life, Finan offered, “while Jim enjoyed his share of fun and great memories, he received so much pleasure out of presenting events that brought joy, fun and memories into countless lives along the way. That was more important to Jim”. 

Jim is survived by his wife Barbara, daughters, Deborah (Sean), Meryl, Joyce (Bob), he was predeceased by his youngest daughter Robin. Funeral arrangements are pending. 

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