Commencement of Tree Clearing | Site Work, Fall 2013
Whiskey Hill Raceway, circa 2015
Palmer Motorsports Park (PMP) was conceived to be the "flagship" race track of the New England Region Sports Car Club of America (NER SCCA) which formed a track committee and LLC (NER Investments) to develop and operate the race track.
After professional review and public hearings, the Palmer Planning Board granted a special permit in December 2007. In 2008, an agreement with a pro racer/developer led to new site plan changes: a revised race track layout, hotel, restaurant, private garages and aBarkow Leibinger-designed business center, which were approved by the planning board in 2009.
After the 2008 mortgage crisis, the project stalled. In late 2011, NER SCCA transferred ownership of the LLC and in 2013, after further site plan changes and Massachusetts (MEPA) permitting, a groundbreaking occurred, courtesy of J. Read Corporation.
Despite various hurdles and setbacks, construction was completed and Whiskey Hill Raceway opened for racing in May 2015.
PMP’s Whiskey Hill Raceway features a 2+ mile, 40-foot wide road course with over 190 feet of vertical elevation, 14 turns, and breathtaking vistas that extend from Pioneer Valley into Connecticut, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Road & Track magazine has named PMP one of the top 10 racetracks to drive in North America.
No history is complete without naming names. First and foremost, NER SCCA track committee members: Dick Patullo, Bruce Allen, Lou Gingerella and Don Laverty (+ dad), who found the site, fabricated a wildly-optimistic "business plan", designed a 2+ mile racing circuit, and obtained a special permit — and the NER SCCA board and town officials who supported them (you know who you are, Mike & Linda) and to Leon, Jordie & associates for all their PR "help".
Further credit goes to Don Anderson of Hampden County Savings Bank (now Berkshire Bank) who funded the project, and to Greg Read & Dan Moeller of JRead Corp, who spent 18 months orchestrating the "cuts and fills" over a 650+ acre site that is, quite literally, "between a rock and wetland."
And last but not least: Jonathan Fryer Esquire, Charlie Greenhaus, and "Fast Fred", whose job was (and is) paying the piper for the sins of the father, hosting dinner, and evading speed traps (while seeking an off-ramp).
And history continues to be made by: Christopher Tier, Trevor Hermance, Al Sandy, Fast Fred, and folks who scrub floors, wack weeds, wave flags, tow vehicles, or staff the front gate, and by sponsors, club members, and others who come to PMP to marvel, tear up the asphalt, or make PMP their "mountain getaway."