A current “lay of the land” from the senior management of some of Canada’s most prominent drag strips….

The common denominator remains pretty much still wait and see and hope for the best from the five major drag racing facilities located in Canada — as they too try to navigate though this global COIVD crisis.

We have posted the latest official positions + comments from each below (from West to East):

Mission Raceway Park (Kevin Ness – General Manager)

“This is an unprecedented situation and we understand that questions are going to arise as we all get adjusted to these new realities. We continue to closely monitor the situation.

Mission will be cancelling all drag race and drifting events up until at least the end of April. On behalf of myself, BCCCA and Mission Raceway Park, staff, volunteers and racers — we encourage all of you and your families to prioritize your own health and wellness.”

Castrol Raceway (Rob and Kimberley Reeves – Owners/Operators)

“To be honest — all decisions are still work in progress. We do have concerns for the welfare of the 2020 Rocky Mountain Nationals — which we want to continue to present. That’s a really tough one even if travel and social restrictions are lifted over the next 6 weeks. Also with the poor exchange rate and depressed global price for oil — it is a huge kicker (for Alberta). We also feel that the general populace will be more discretionary than previous – due to personal economics and also about gathering in public venues.

Castrol Raceway’s bracket racing, road course racing, street legal, nite thunder events (oval track) are weekly events we plan to push forward with. We will adjust as further direction is made by the health authorities and as the bans for non-essential events/gatherings are lifted. We do anticipate our local motorsports participants will be enthusiastic to get behind and support us.

We are just on ‘hold’ and sadly like everyone else our business will suffer. But we are making plans to weather the storm.”

Grand Bend Motorplex (Paul Spriet – President/Owner)

“There is no doubt this pandemic will have an effect on the drag race season as it will on all facets of life and economy. At this point we are still working toward our usual May opening — our first race event is May long weekend (May 15-17). If we are still social distancing at that point and being told to stay home and we have to postpone our opening weekend — then our next drag events are June 5-7 and July 3-5. For us — fortunately — our biggest events of the season are in the latter half of the summer.

The one good part of drag racing is it can be run in a social distancing fashion, since each driver is essentially isolated in their own car. For spectating — we have seating for close to 10,000 – so other then our major race weekends nobody needs to be in close contact with anyone else. In the pit area it would be up to each individual team to practice their own distancing.

Depending on how long this pandemic upsets the economy it will have an effect on sponsorships for sure. If company revenues are being affected, then it is only natural for them to look for ways to cut costs – unfortunately sponsorship is one of those options.

I expect it will also affect racer/spectator attendance not because of the health aspect, but our sport is a discretionary income sport. People who have been affected by this downturn may not have the available income to attend as many events as they did previously. We are looking at ways to reduce our costs as well if this is the case.

The Mopar Canadian Nationals it is still on a full go basis — all the talent is booked. There are 4 1/2 months of time before we get to it. If the start of our season is affected — that race becomes an even more important event for not only us but Canadian drag racing fans in general — because it offers a great escape and relief from the problems of the day.”

Toronto Motorsports Park (Uli Bieri – President/Owner)

“Our track was scheduled to open in April but we’ve made the decision to stay closed right now. With the many unknowns with Coronavirus (COVID-19) it is certainly the right thing to do. Nothing on our race schedule has been cancelled yet and our first major event is planned for the Victoria Day Long Weekend (May 15-17). We feel the next few weeks will be crucial for decision making here in Canada.

We do actively monitor the guidelines set from the national health organisations and have been following industry updates from Performance Racing Industry (PRI). PRI released an industry update on the worldwide racing organisations where they described the situation using a flag system. It projected a red flag (no racing) for April, yellow (opportunity open) for May and green (going ahead as planned) for June and July assuming the situation improves.

Although we feel all the uncertainty has the potential to negatively impact the season for race teams, event attendance and sponsorship, we are still positive about this upcoming season. In times like these, we need to band together as a racing community to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19), keep our families safe and healthy and stay hopeful that we can get back to doing what we love (racing) as soon as possible. We will be sending frequent updates to our community as the situation progresses and look forward to welcoming everyone back at the track soon.”

Napierville Dragway (Nichols Brunet — General Manager)

“Right now everything in Quebec is shut down for at least three weeks. At our race track the major participants are ET class racers who are regular workers — and have jobs that are being affected — we are concerned for them.

As far as the major events for our season this year — those plans/dates currently all remain in place. We still have our Bracket Series this year and that starts in May and ends in September. We also plan to host our NHRA National Open in July and our UDRA Pro Mod series is back for 5 weekends this season.

We are hopeful that the COVID will go away and that our racers and fans will come to the track.”

DragRaceCanada will post additional updates and positions as they occur.

Official developments can also be reviewed as they become available at each drag strip’s website and social media platforms. You can link below:

Mission Raceway – HERE
Castrol Raceway – HERE
Toronto Motorsports Park — HERE
Grand Bend Motorplex – HERE
Napierville Dragway — HERE

Posted by Bruce Biegler