LETS GO RACING!
VICTORIA, BC – After being awarded the prestigious 2019 Chamber of Commerce ‘Best Entertainment Destination’ award last November, Western Speedway was set to begin an ambitious 2020 race season back in the spring. Unfortunately, Coronavirus shut down much of North America. Race tracks shut down temporarily and the engines of race teams were silenced. “Nobody saw this coming,” exclaims Western Speedway promoter Darrell Midgley, “British Columbia has been very tough on their rules for Covid (since the beginning). Vancouver Island has been probably the toughest in all of Canada as far as restrictions.” With fall just around the corner, gatherings of over 50 people are still prohibited in BC. Despite the restrictions, Western Speedway has managed to hold dozens of car club events (slalom/drifting) since the end of May. The facility however has not held a single spectator event in 2020 and that will be the case for the biggest Late Model race on September 6th. “There will be no spectators at the Canada 200.” This major oval event was first competed back in 1972. A healthy Late Model car count was expected for this year’s race. “We could’ve had forty cars,” admits Midgley, “but we capped the entries at twenty-five. We had to because of the amount of people allowed on the property.” Teams will only be allowed one crew member. “Excluding staff, only 50 people (drivers and crew) will be allowed to be in the pits.”
Team NPP driver Jason Frost will be one of the 25 entrants for the September 6th running of the Canada 200. “We’re going racing,” exclaims the driver of the Northern Provincial Pipelines/The Keg #81 Dodge, “we are going to throw everything we’ve got at it.” Frost does have some concerns with only one crew member allowed for the big race. “If I get a flat tire I might have to jump out of the car and help. It’s going to be very interesting but everyone will be in the same situation.” The Victoria, British Columbia driver is relieved however that there will be several practice sessions before the Canada 200. “I’ve picked up four sets of tires. I want to be ready for the weekend.” Frost is still trying to grasp the concept that he and his fellow competitors will be racing in front of an empty grandstand. “I really don’t know how it’s going to feel yet. We take the green flag at 7pm so it’s still daylight. We will see the (empty) grandstands. Maybe we’ll be so focused on the race it won’t bother us. It’s going to be absolutely, one-hundred percent, different.” Although no spectators will be allowed to attend the race, hundreds of thousands will still be able to watch. For the first time in the history of the Canada 200, the race will be televised. “It’s being broadcast live on CHEK TV which is our local station.” REV TV, which is Canada’s motorsports network, will also broadcast the Canada 200 live. Several practice sessions will lead up to the big race on Sunday, September 6th. Qualifying for the Canada 200 takes place on Saturday, September 5th.