The B.C. Custom Car Association (BCCCA) is facing a potential loss of $500,000 in annual revenue due to construction problems at Mission Raceway Park that have delayed key races and cancelled dozens more.
Concrete-pouring problems, including blistering and delamination, have plagued efforts to repair the track surface since the end of February.
“We’re still making progress,” said Brian Nawyn, BCCCA president, “and we’re hoping repairs will be completed by Sunday night.”
This will then allow the association to ready the track, such as installing electronics.
If no further issues arise, it’s likely the raceway will open the first weekend of August, when organizers are hoping to host the Old Time Drags.
Nawyn said about $300,000 has been lost so far due to cancellation of the street legal, bracket and road races. Another $200,000 revenue shortfall is projected as a result of not being able to host the major events so far, such as the Lordco Nationals and Doorwarz, the raceway’s most popular event last year.
In an effort to make up for lost time, Nawyn said the raceway will try to combine the annual Smoke, Fire and Thunder jet car event with the Lucas Oil Canadian National Open, Aug. 21-24.
However, even if the weather cooperates, Nawyn said the track won’t see the attendance numbers when two events are blended together.
“We’ll get the same number of racers, and more spectators, but not as much as hosting two separate events.”
The Lordco NHRA BC Nationals are the raceway’s biggest race of the season, and in May, track repair trouble forced organizers to postpone the event until Sept. 4-7.
The BCCCA president noted the raceway’s economic spinoffs for the rest of Mission have also decreased – a sentiment echoed by the community’s economic development officer, Stacey Crawford.
“The raceway is an under-appreciated asset,” he said. “I think there’s no doubt [Mission Raceway] has a positive economic impact” on the community.
Among the Mission businesses feeling the hit from race cancellations is the Mission Best Western.
According to the hotel’s general manager, Chester Huan, “It’s definitely had an impact.”
Huan said it’s noticeably slower for the Lougheed Highway hotel, and that on most race weekends, Best Western is 100 per cent booked. Now, it’s 50 to 60 per cent, he said.
According to a 1994 Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce report – the most recent study – the average competitor polled spent $72 per day while at the raceway, including entrance fee, food/beverages, souvenirs, etc. Spectators spent an average of $32 a day.
Once they left the grounds, spectators spent about $128 per day, while racers spent $266. The numbers increase to $197/day for spectators and $410/day for racers if they remained overnight.