UPDATE (June 27th): As a result of the meeting tonight, we are changing the test & tune schedule this week. It looks like rain on Thursday, so we will hold one on Wednesday June 29. The Tuesday June 28th Tune date has been moved to Wednesday as well. We will have one more test and Tune next week (to be announced) as well, before our season starts.
This is going to be a challenging year for Laird Raceway with the local economy in a downturn. Many of the drivers and team members that you see weekly are currently laid off from major employers - Essar Steel, and Tenaris Algoma Tubes. Those layoffs bleed through our local economy, affecting many secondary industries with layoffs and cutbacks as well. Even in the cases where one of our drivers is not suffering a layoff, they have to deal with cutbacks in sponsorships from local business owners.
We had considered a closure of the track for this season, but have reconsidered and will run a season that is a bit reduced over what we have run in past years. We think that this will be best for Laird, our drivers/teams/sponsors, and fans.
Our schedule this year will have a delayed start. Instead of racing beginning at the end of May or early June, our race season will begin on Thursday July 7th. Also, we have reduced the number of race dates down to 8 events, some of which are weekend events – running Friday evening for heats, bus races, a band and overnight camping, then on Saturday with 50 lap features followed by a new “special event.”
Our banquet to celebrate the 2015 season was held on the evening of Thursday March 24th at the Hard Times Bar and Grill, on Wallace Terrace. The evening started with a hearty meal of pasta, meatballs, and salad, served courtesy of Hard Times. Afterwards, track announcer Spanky Robinson worked as the Master of Ceremonies and started by bringing up Laird owner and promoter, Donnie Varcoe. Donnie thanked all the drivers, families and pit crews for their attendance during the 2015 season. Spanky also thanked Rita Slater for her hard work in setting up the awards banquet.
The top 10 drivers in each of our four divisions were acknowledged. Those drivers that competed 75% or more of our race schedule were honoured with plaques, and the top three drivers in each division were awarded with a plaque and a large mounted photo of their car.
We had a good season at Laird this year, it was our 17th, with some great racing and close points battles for championships in our four divisions.
We got a total of 10 racedays in, a couple less than average. We had a bit of a slow start to the season, then also shut it down for a couple weeks mid season to regroup and seeks some solutions to attendance issues.
The fan attendance at the beginning of the season was lower than normal, and lower than what is needed to support the operation of the track. By the end of the season though the crowd size had increased a bit and that was encouraging.