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BEAVER FALLS, NY-A host of area politicians, including Governor George Pataki were on hand Saturday for the grand opening of the Adirondack International Speedway that was built to be a venue for NASCAR and Bush Series-type motorsport events.

The facility, which is still under construction, will feature four tracks including the “Almost Mile,” a 0.99 mile, high-banked (15 degrees) D-shaped paved tri-oval track. The speedway will also have a half-mile track and a quarter mile track, as well as a 1.5-mile road course. Saturday’s race took place on the half-mile track. Speedway officials say that the four track designs are geared to attracting events sponsored by NASCAR, Hooters, ASA, Bush Series Racing, and other professional auto racing organizations.

The entire speedway facility is nearly complete. Finished portions include the grandstand, press boxes, concession areas and broadcast wiring that meets requirements set by ESPN, NBC and other racing network stations. The quarter mile and half mile tracks have been paved and the 0.99-mile large oval should be completed in 2002-2003. Final grading and paving of the big oval will be completed in 2002-03, speedway officials note. The facility is expected to be completed in 2003 and when finished will employ 33 full-time workers.

The new facility, located in Lewis County in upstate New York, is expected to host 32 events each year and bring in more than $60 million into the local economy in its first seven years of operation. Track officials hope to draw motorsport fans from New York, Canada and New England. The speedway is planning an April to October yearly schedule that will include weekly racing events, special shows, driving schools, and other events.

Pataki joined Paul Lyndaker, owner of Lyndaker Trucking Company in Lewis County and the principal investor for the speedway, for the first- Annual Empire 100 Race. The race was part of the American-Canadian Tour/ACT Dodge Tour.

“Today is more than the opening of a new racing facility. It’s a green flag for new jobs, increased tourism and more visibility for Lewis County and the entire North Country,” Pataki said. “Thousands of fans from across the Northeast will come here dozens of times each year not just to witness spectacular auto racing, but also to spend money at local businesses.

A spokesman for the Empire State Development Corporation says that the agency and the ownership of the Adirondack International Speedway are in negotiations on the details of an incentive package for the facility. The state is considering helping the speedway with transportation access to the 980-acre site as well as financial help with construction costs.

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