PHOTOS: Checkered flag waves for the last time at Westshore Motorsports Park

Jim Steen waves to the cheering crowd during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Jim Steen waves to the cheering crowd during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
People sit on a nearby hilltop to watch the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)People sit on a nearby hilltop to watch the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
General manager and driver Daryl Crocker signs autographs during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)General manager and driver Daryl Crocker signs autographs during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Sparks fly as racers round the first corner during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Sparks fly as racers round the first corner during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Flames blast out of exhaust pipes during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Flames blast out of exhaust pipes during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Cars blast past the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Cars blast past the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Sprint cars race past the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Sprint cars race past the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Jim Steen races past the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Jim Steen races past the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Rory Smith celebrates after winning his race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Rory Smith celebrates after winning his race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Jim Steen readies for the ceremonial final lap during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Jim Steen readies for the ceremonial final lap during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Jim Steen gets out of his car following the ceremonial final lap during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Jim Steen gets out of his car following the ceremonial final lap during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Spectators watch as cars blast by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Spectators watch as cars blast by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Brendon Moore (second from left) celebrates after winning his race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Brendon Moore (second from left) celebrates after winning his race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Spectators watch as cars race by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Spectators watch as cars race by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Spectators watch as cars race by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Spectators watch as cars race by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A pit crew rushes to perform emergency repairs during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A pit crew rushes to perform emergency repairs during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
The checkered flag waves for the final time during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)The checkered flag waves for the final time during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Brendon Moore celebrates after winning his race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Brendon Moore celebrates after winning his race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A driver signs autographs during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A driver signs autographs during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Cars round the first corner during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Cars round the first corner during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Cars round the first corner during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Cars round the first corner during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Drivers perform donuts during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Drivers perform donuts during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Driver Brian Wakelin stands next to his car during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Driver Brian Wakelin stands next to his car during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Jim Steen stands in front of his car during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Jim Steen stands in front of his car during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A sticker celebrating the speedway’s history is seen on a race car during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A sticker celebrating the speedway’s history is seen on a race car during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Brett Ballantyne, 9, sits in a race car for a fan meet and greet during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Brett Ballantyne, 9, sits in a race car for a fan meet and greet during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Cars sit in the pits ready for racing during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Cars sit in the pits ready for racing during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Cars blast by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Cars blast by the grandstands during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Go karts race past the audience during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Go karts race past the audience during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Cars race past the audience during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Cars race past the audience during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
Cars sit in the pits ready for racing during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Cars sit in the pits ready for racing during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A crew member relaxes ahead of their race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)A crew member relaxes ahead of their race during the final race night at the Westshore Motorsports Park Saturday, Sept. 17, as the track shuts down permanently. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

Jim Steen has been racing since he was 16. He raced at the opening event at what is now called Westshore Motorsports Park in Langford back in 1954, and he had the honour of driving the last lap of the track on Saturday (Sept. 17) as the checkered flag waved, and the track closed.

“For myself, I’m going to miss it but I’m turning 85 next month, so it’s about time for me, I need to start relaxing, but wow am I going to miss this track,” Steen said ahead of his race. “It’s been my whole life really.”

Steen has raced nearly continuously since that first race, competing in almost every category the track has hosted. He never considered stopping, even after some pretty serious crashes he wasn’t expected to survive, because the track and the community which called it home for so long were just to special.

In fact, he nearly wasn’t able to race on Saturday as he blew an engine during qualifying on Friday. His crew worked through the night to rebuild it, getting it race ready just hours before the green flag.

READ MORE: The Final Lap: Best in Class for the 2022 season with Cole Sorenson

“Myself and my cousins, we just went for it, you know,” he said. “It’s always exciting, but when you are in the car, everything is calm.”

For Brian Wakelin, competing in the bombers category on Saturday, the fact his race is among the last held at the track had been on his mind for weeks as he reflected on the friends made along the way.

“I’ve raced here since 1974, steady now from ‘92 until now,” said Wakelin. “It’s a lot of fun, and everyone feels good helping someone else get their car going when something goes wrong.”

In one race in particular, Wakelin recalls finding the solution to another racer’s problem allowing them to keep on racing that night, eventually claiming the pole position.

That special community spreads far beyond the pit lanes and into the grandstands. Keen on helping the track get the send-off it deserves, the racing community easily filled every seat in the house on Saturday.

Spectators cheered nearly constantly, but there were also plenty of wet cheeks knowing this would be the last race they would be able to take in on the West Shore.

“Heartbroken, I think that’s the only word to describe how I’m feeling tonight,” said general manager Daryl Crocker. “The turnout from the crowd has been unbelievable, and we just had every class of car come out tonight because I couldn’t decide which people got to be here tonight and which did not, so we just scheduled everyone and made it work.”

Crocker said he heard from racers and fans alike how sad they are it is all coming to an end, but he feels the community has given the track the send off it deserves.

“Everyone is holding back tears, and they are not doing a very good job of it, myself included.”

READ MORE: Sellout crowd takes in final demo race at Westshore Motorsports Park


@JSamanski
justin.samanski-langille@goldstreamgazette.com

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