By Adam Eisenbarth
Weather has been an issue for Central Alberta Raceways this season, but the sun is still shining brightly on the future of the local track.
The side-by-side shootout was held on Main Street for what figures to be the final time as the raceway committee moves toward completion of the quarter-mile drag strip.
“We are completing tenders for dirt work and the quarter-mile drag strip construction for this fall or early spring work, depending on what the tenders come back at,” says events co-ordinator Dale Barr.
The news was highly anticipated as the announcement resulted in applause from racers at the July 11 side-by-side shootout.
The committee of eight, race track volunteers, and sponsors make the events possible, Barr said. “There’s between 100 to 200 volunteers that back up this committee for this project.”
Barr also announced that Central Alberta Raceways has made a $5,000 contribution to the Rimbey pool project. “One of the wins and the original goals of the track was to raise money for community projects like the pool.”
Barr says that although the raceway’s development is still a work in progress, it is important to find ways to fulfill their goal of contributing to the community now, rather than waiting until the project is complete.
“Those things will happen over time but the goal is that the track will raise considerable money towards community projects so that we’re not looking to government funding for some of the projects that we want to do in the community.”
The 2010 shootout was the seventh and final downtown. The event has been getting bigger every year, and with the move to the quarter-mile drag strip next year, Barr expects it to only continue building.
“The support has been fabulous. The corporate sponsorship on this has built this whole facility. There’s over $1.5 million invested at this time.”
While the event itself has grown quickly, Barr says development of the raceway itself has been a long process. “Things have gone slower than planned. That’s probably one of the frustrations of the steering committee.”
The cost of the drag strip was underestimated early in the process, but about three years ago the raceway received $433,000 in provincial grant money, and sponsors, along with volunteers who run the events, have stepped up to the challenge as well.
“That’s put us in a position to move forward. (Next) we will be looking for title sponsorship. We do not have a title sponsorship for the quarter-mile drag strip yet. We anticipate once we let the contracts out and work all begins, that we’ll have a lot of interest in that area.”
As for the number of events to be held at the track, that is yet to be determined. A key to that will be a balancing act for the committee, Barr said. “We want to have events down there so the locals and central Alberta racers can showcase their vehicles but we also still are in construction and there’s still a lot of work to do on the facility.”
The Wissota Late Model and Hobby/Super Stock race is next on the schedule at Central Alberta Raceways, July 25 at 2 p.m.