Friday, May 9, 2014

Open Wheel Racing Alive and Well in Western Canada

Kaz Grafix photo
Fans at ALH Motor Speedway standing for the NLSA Lightning Sprints parade lap.

Open Wheel racing is still alive and well in Western Canada.

Here's a few reasons why...

If variety is the spice of life, then Alberta continues to lead the way with Sprint Car racing events in Western Canada throughout the year.

Edmonton's Castrol Raceway hosts regular Sprint Car racing and specials that would satisfy any dirt track racing fan's need for speed.

Beginning in May and ending in mid-September, Castrol Raceway staggers race nights between ASCS 360 Sprints and Sportsman Sprints. On top of this, the dirt track oval hosts 3 big open wheel events in 2014.

July 18-19, the 60th annual Gold Cup race will take place featuring the ASCS 360 Sprints. Past winners of this prestigious event have included Travis Rilat, Jason Solwold, Travis Rutz, Sean Moran and Lou Kennedy Jr.

August 15-16, the Extreme Cup features a stout field of competitors in the very popular Sportsman Sprint class. Although the Sportsman Sprints race regularly at Castrol Raceway, they also travel and race on available nights at Rimbey, Alberta's Central Alberta Raceways. In the past, this group of racers have travelled as far as Swift Current, Saskatchewan to put on 2-night shows for the dirt track racing fans at Speedy Creek Raceway.

August 22-23, Castrol Raceway enjoys the privilege of hosting the STP World of Outlaws Sprint Series. This is the only Western Canadian stop for the 410 Outlaw Sprint Cars in their busy schedule.

Though not as entrenched in the Sprint Car culture as Alberta, Manitoba continues to support Open Wheel racing in it's own way.

Winnipeg's Red River Co-op Speedway will host 2 NOSA Sprint races in 2014. The Grand Forks, North Dakota-based group provides weekly open wheel excitement at River Cities Speedway as well as travelling throughout the territory during weekends.

The NOSA Sprints will bring their high-flying, mud-slinging excitement to Winnipeg on June 26 and August 28.

Locally, the most active group of Open Wheel racers is the Northern Lightning Sprint Association. They have a busy racing schedule involving 5 dirt tracks. The biggest event in Manitoba is the NLSA's $1,000-to-win Northern Shootout for the Watermelon Cup which takes place on August 10 at ALH Motor Speedway in Morden, Manitoba.

Racing purists will delight in this class with their clean, fast-paced racing. Don't let their size fool you. This is THE fastest car class that regularly races in Manitoba. They do not disappoint.

The NLSA Lightning Sprints look forward to bigger and better things in their 6th season.

Before concluding this post…

My parents have only ever been to a speedway twice in their lives. In 2004 for an NLRA Late Model race, and then in 2005 for the NOSA Sprints, both at Victory Lane Speedway. Just knowing that they came out to see what I was always fussing about made everything I have ever done worth it.

I published my last blog post the day before my mom passed away on March 18th. She always loved to read what I had written, regardless how good or bad it was. She knew how much I loved Sprint Car racing and supported all of my efforts over the years. So it only seemed fitting that I should write my next post for Mother's Day weekend.

This one's for you, Mom.

Until next time race fans, take care and Happy Mother's Day.