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Late start for Northern Lights raceway

Three full race weekends already missed; lost dates to be made up
george spence, fort nelson, 2008 ford f-350 super duty
Fort Nelson's George Spence provides the best burn out of the afternoon at Northern Lights Raceway June 10 in his Ford F-350 Super Duty. The track is hoping to have its first full weekend later this month after delays with paving and replacing equipment

The last two years haven't been kind to a lot of people.

Add the folks over at Northern Lights Raceway to that list.

Actually, add the first six months of this year too.

As the track, run entirely by volunteers, got itself out from under the pandemic, it faced some new challenges this spring – a delay in re-paving the drag strip and replacing a broken track timing system.

“We're struggling but we're at least out here doing something, running cars down the track, having some fun,” said track president T.J. Dohm Sunday, June 10, on a day that was meant to cap a full weekend of racing.

In fact, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was scheduled to be the third-such weekend, had the volunteer group not hit its second snag.

“Our timing system is half here and half of it got hung up at the border and we're still waiting for it to show up. It should be here sometime this week,” added Dohm. “Hopefully, this coming weekend and the next, we can get this whole thing figured out and the real race track can be back.”

He's hopeful the two lost weekends of May 28-29 and June 18-19 can be made up later this summer.

“We're really gonna try. We're gonna push almost every weekend we can out, regardless of what's going on. We've got sponsors and what-not we gotta uphold.”

Although open to the public, this past Sunday's race was scaled down to what was called a 'no prep testing' event, and featured street legal cars and trucks.

“We'll have our Done Right Nationals Aug. 6-7 and that will be our biggest race that we have. That will bring out our biggest racers...the juniors and the street class. We have another one set for early September. It'll be a big bracket race.”

But, like any sport or club post-pandemic, the numbers will need to be built back up from what they were in 2018 and 2019.

“It's been hard with Covid the last few years. We haven't seen a whole lot (of racing) and I get it. Race cars are expensive. There have been a lot of people who have sold and moved on from the hobby.”

Dohm, though, believes if the track can get a couple of weekends under its belt, the fans and the drivers will return.

“This is our fresh start. Everything out here is new. All of us are new. We want to push as many race dates as we can this year to learn as much as we can," said Dohm. "Try and get more volunteers. I mean, if we can manage to get a good crew together, we should be able to run quite a few races until the end of this year.”

Of added importance, to the club, to getting itself back on solid footing – it will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2023.


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