Racing fans can get a hit of speed and feed those in need as local races shift to a new format.
With races cancelled due to COVID-19 — for the first time since the track opened in 1954 — locals are following the lead of NASCAR and Indycar, taking their series online. Starting Sunday, drivers that Western Speedway fans will recognize, compete in a multi-week online racing series to raise money for the Goldstream Food Bank.
Fans will recognize a number of the participants, from David Smith, who races competitively in Canada and the U.S., to top local drivers including Lane Zerbin, Jason Day, Gary Smith, Jason Tarasenko. The locals — who will be joined by three veterans of the NASCAR Truck Series — will race simulated late model stock cars painted to match the ones they race in real life at the Langford track.
“People won’t be able to tell the difference between the cars that race at the speedway and the cars they are racing in Horsepower For Hunger,” David Smith said. “They are very realistic.”
|Local Western Speedway drivers bring the thrill to fans at home while helping the Goldstream Food Bank. (Screenshot/iwesternspeedway.com)|
The virtual races are free to viewers each Sunday through June 7, with a team of Victoria organizers hoping to raise $20,000 in donations for the food bank.
“If you’re managing all right we’re going to provide you some entertainment. If you’re in a position to, hopefully, you donate and it’s going to help the people who aren’t in a good position,” said Daryl Crocker, general manager at Western Speedway.
Because of associated costs, it couldn’t be done without some significant support from Shockwave Motorsports and Jason Frost of The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, he said.
“COVID-19 has really been hurting the silent majority, so I’m tickled to join forces with Western Speedway to come up with an idea to help the speedway, to do something for the community, and to fulfill a need for all the racers,” said Smith, owner of Shockwave Motorsports. “This checks all the boxes. It’s going to be a win-win for everybody.”
The racetracks in Horsepower For Hunger will be familiar to followers of NASCAR’s Cup Series; Richmond Raceway (May 17), Daytona International Speedway (May 24), Sonoma Raceway (May 31), and Phoenix Raceway (June 7).
“More than likely this will become a permanent fixture on the local racing scene, COVID-19 or not,” Smith said. “We want to extend the reach of Western Speedway with virtual races and make this thing go across Canada. It’s endless, the possibilities.”
The first race in the four-week Horsepower For Hunger series is May 17 at 7 p.m. on iwesternspeedway.com.