Stock car racing began on Long Island, New York in 1927. By the 50’s some 40 racetracks had existed on Long Island, today, there’s just one, Riverhead Raceway.
Filmmaker Michael Dweck captures the life and times of this unique last bastion of American blue-collar racing tradition as the modern world encroaches from all sides, primed and ready to take the land right from beneath the tarmac.
The owners of Riverhead Raceway are an old, eccentric couple: Barbara and Jim Cromarty. We don’t find out a great deal about the pair, which is a shame but it’s something you must get used to in The Last Race.
Dweck doesn’t delve deep into people’s stories in the documentary, choosing instead to race ahead (excuse the pun) with glorious shots, sounds of the mighty V8 engines intermixed with classical music and the occasional punch-up.
It would be remis of me to mention it though as it is the one thing that stops The Last Race from being a truly great documentary, it’s good, don’t get me wrong, but there are so many unanswered questions that stop it being better; how did the Cromarty’s come to own the racetrack? Why don’t their kids take it on? Is it sustainable ‘as-is’? etc, etc.
However, putting that to one side if you can, Dweck does deliver a truly stunning looking piece of work. The GoPros are placed wonderfully about the cars to capture some great shots and, obviously, some incidents to.
Dweck doesn’t shy away from showing the inevitable side of racing at this level either, as tempers boil over and the air is turned blue and, on occasion, fists fly as drivers deem manoeuvres to be out of order.