At Long Last – Mission “almost” Accomplished!
It sounded simple enough. After more than 20 seasons on the original pavement and a few newer patches, and too many incidents of groundwater creeping up through the surface at the top end, plus normal wear and tear, the operators of Mission Raceway Park, the B.C. Custom Car Association, made the decision to rip up all the pavement and resurface the entire quarter-mile in concrete. Work would start in early spring, like March here, and the plan was to be done no later than the first big race in June, the NHRA Lucas Oil race.
Of course, the weather didn’t cooperate much, and the process began to take so long that that event had to be postponed. But, the concrete went down, and most of the season would be run as scheduled. Just one problem, though. The concrete at the top end was not properly poured, with varying density and other problems too technical to get into here, which was proven by BCCCA, and the concrete contractor, a very prominent national company you would recognize, would not fix the problem and re-do the unsatisfactory section. It took BCCCA several weeks to get them to re-pour the concrete, and that process was completed only a few weeks ago.
As we write this, on the weekend (a showery one, as it turns out) that was supposed to see the track host the Canadian National Open with nostalgia funny cars, the surface is done, the guardwalls are back in place, and the club is working to prepare the track surface for running. Of course, the forecast is for more rain this week….
The plan is for the first feature race event to be the popular annual Langley Loafers vintage drags on the August 2-3 weekend, which is a bit of a lower-key event to get started with, but with six-second AA/GS cars that will give the new surface a good test.
After that one, the big events come thick and fast through late summer. First off, the Lucas Oil NHRA Canadian National Open has been rescheduled to run in conjunction with the SMS/Komatsu Smoke, Fire & Thunder weekend already on the calendar for August 22-24. Feature classes will include NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars, Rocky Mountain Funny Car Assoc., Jet Cars, Wheelstanders, AA/Fuel Altereds, and Pro Mod/Pro Street, plus NHRA sportsman classes.
Next up is the long-running Lordco B.C. Nationals NHRA Lucas Oil race, postponed from June, on September 5-7 weekend. Those who remember the best of this race when it was run in May (like, numerous national and world records) will be salivating at the potential numbers that could be turned in on an all-concrete track on a cooler day in September.
And then, it is Doorwarz, the biggest and richest door car event in Canada, on September 19-21, with dozens of the West’s top Pro Mods and many others in several classes. We repeat what we said about cool September weather….
Of course, through all this delay, the local racers in the brackets and several organizations have had nowhere in southern B.C. to run, as the Eagle Motorplex in Ashcroft took this year off to regroup, running only their version of the Langley Loafers vintage race last month. The racers have been doing a lot of travelling to points south such as Seattle, and will be glad to get back on their home track.
It’s been a long year of frustration and hard work by BCCCA, but they must get full credit for accepting nothing less than the best possible track surface, and demanding that the contractor make good on its unsatisfactory work. We think that their commitment and dedication will be amply rewarded.
Post and photos by: Gerry Frechette