Atlantic Canada’s plans for drag racing in 2020 were COVID restricted and modified accordingly last season…. 

CBDRA Director Gerard “Indy” Bryden looks back and summarizes a limited but creative season effort put forth by both staff and racers at super scenic Cape Breton Dragway in Nova Scotia.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic back in mid-March, most of Atlantic Canada instantly found itself pretty much closed. In places that did manage remain open, they quickly learned their services were altered and in some cases drastically reduced.  The world was now experiencing some rapid changes that most people were not really well prepared for it. 

Cape Breton Dragway – Nova Scotia

At Cape Breton Dragway, our leaders needed to sit down and construct a plan that would first protect our staff and any patron of our track, from COVID-19. At the same time, we also had to protect our investment and not opening for the 2020 season did not appear as a feasible alternative for us. We realized early that this pandemic could extend into a three to five year ordeal and so we needed to learn how to exist, through a pandemic. In our consultations with the NOVA SCOTIA Department of Health, we constructed a plan for reopening the drag-strip. There was no shortage of opinions on both sides of these discussions but we sincerely felt that if we followed the advice of the medical experts, we could safely provide the drag racers of our region with a place to drag race.

As the rumors and speculation of the Cape Breton Dragway opening circulated among the racing community, many Atlantic Bubble drag racers race actually began making their plans to attend. The whole process needed to be tested and we finally announced our first race was set for August 15-16th. This event would also see the introduction of the Cape Breton Dragway’s first online registration system. With a few growing pains as people adjusted to the realities of COVID-19  — they started doing entirely new things with their cell phones. Racers signed on from all over the “Atlantic Bubble” and on opening day it was like some kind of festival. People were just smiling and showing their approval of finally being at the drag stip.

Dan Nickerson’s B/SA classed Firebird (Lower Sackville NS) was an event winner at the first”COVID era event” attempt at Cape Breton Dragway last season.

The COVID Race-One results saw Len Nicholson defeating Darrell Poole in the Super Pro finals. In Pro Class it was Dan Nickerson B-SA Firebird with the win over Chis Chapman F-SA Chevelle. Sportsman final was won by Tony Wakelin over Henk Niesten. The Bike-Sled class had Kevin King with the win light over Paul Metcalf. The finals in Junior Dragster saw Gavin Pozzebon win over Keigan Cooke.

Race two came upon us quickly and it would be an action packed three day weekend. With the entry restrictions that were in still place, the online registration saw the field filled within a couple hours.  When the sun set on Sunday, the showed the Ideal Electric Quick 16 event was claimed by Dave Anthony over Lorne Buchanan. Anthony was also the “Low ET” #1 qualifier for the event.

Legendary Nova Scotian John Armstrong won twice during the track’s (Atlantic Canada Stock/Super Stock Association) Combo events held last summer.

The Atlantic Canadian Stock/Super Stock Association (ACSSA) had a strong showing and in the Stock Super Stock Combo (Saturday), it was Mike Ingram defeating Mark Howes. Then on Sunday we watched as John Armstong’s SS/AA Corvette lit the win light over Chris Chapman’s F/SA Chevelle in the finals. In Super Pro it was Darryl Poole with the win over Brett Ramsay. Pro class was won by John Rankin over Lewis MacDonald. The Sportsman class was led by Henk Niesten when he defeated his wife Rosa in the finals. The Bike-Sled Class had Donnie Cosnick with the win over Gordon Ferguson. The Junior Dragster class saw Wyatt Rankin defeat Mackenzie Power in the finals. Like the previous event, this one had many people just smiling to be at the track again.

Terry Kelson’s potent Super Pro Mustang is from Lake Utopia, NB

Our final event was then scheduled to happen on September 19-20th and once again the registration was filled completely within a few hours. Once again the ACSSA had some strong representation and on Saturday it was Mike Ingram’s G/SA Chevelle with the win over Fred Thibeault B/SA Camaro. On Sunday, the Stock Super-Stock Combo was won again by John Armstrong SS/BA Camaro when he defeated Shaun Paul Thibeault in his K/SA Camaro. In Super Pro it was Chad Ramsay with the win over Devin Cantwell. Pro was won by Noah Muggah when he defeated Shaun Paul Thibeault. It was Rosa Niesten with the win in Sportsman and husband Henk Niesten had to settle for second place. The Bike-Sled class had “Dancin” Darren Creamer with the win light over Tom Code. Then Wyatt Rankin repeated with his first place in Junior Dragster when he defeated Hanna Pastuck.

Steve Burns is a popular and track regular Super Pro driver with is Sydney NS-based Chevy Camaro.

So, the CBDRA followed the rules and managed to safely complete three events in six weeks, through a pandemic. It was a huge task with many details, restrictions, and hurdles along the way. Hopefully we can all remain ahead of this pandemic and then find a way to safely drag race once again in 2021. Be safe everyone.

Post and photos by Gerard Bryden

For more information on Cape Breton Dragway link to their official:  HERE