Central Alberta Raceways has been given permission to begin their 2020 season with restrictions in place due to COVID-19 (BLACK PRESS file photo)

Central Alberta Raceways starts season with COVID-19 restrictions

Owner hoping for larger car counts as Albertan relaunch progresses

Central Alberta Raceways has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but President Roy Keesar is hopeful the lessening of restrictions will eventually lead to a more normal season.

“We had to cancel our Demolition Derby. One of the biggest factors with COVID-19 is that everything has slowed down —the oil patch and everything else have resulted in basically zero sponsorship money,” he said.

The Raceway recently received permission from Alberta Health Services to reopen with restrictions, which Keesar hopes will be loosened further in phase two and three.

“We can only have a maximum of 50 cars, our pit stalls have to be 20 feet apart, we are only allowed two extra people in our pit, we aren’t allowed any spectators and there is no cafeteria. We also aren’t allowed to use any of our washrooms at all, so everyone has to be self-contained meaning they need to have a camper or whatever with them,” Keesar said.

Central Alberta Raceways was one of the first tracks to get permission from AHS, but Keesar said keeping the track afloat this year is difficult due to the downturn of economy both before and during the pandemic.

“Financially, we are okay. We won’t go broke but we won’t be able to do any of the big upgrades we have planned. When we are racing, we will at least be bringing in revenue from our drivers and pit crew. We also do have people donating time, money and fuel to keep us running,” he said.

Staff at the track are hoping to at least have larger car counts when the Albertan relaunch moves along. Typically car counts are 60 to 110 on the drag strip, 30 to 50 on the oval and 30 to 75 on the mud bogs.

“Hopefully the weather will cooperate this year. People are starting to get excited because we are able to open — it’s just a shame we are unable to have the public come in. Maybe in the next month or two they will loosen the restrictions,” he said.

Keesar said they have already begun their restricted schedule.

“This weekend was the very first event of the year. The mudbogs cancelled their first event, but they are working on their next two. On the drag strips, the directors are in process of seeing how everything will work,” he said.

He added, “I would like to thank our directors and everyone at the track for all of their hard work. One of our directors really took the undertaking to get approval from AHS and it is good to see everyone working on the same page.”



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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