Mission Raceway Park speeds towards new year after record-breaking 2022 season

‘Langley Loafers Old Time Drags’ saw the return of many cars in 2022. /Mike Deboer Photo‘Langley Loafers Old Time Drags’ saw the return of many cars in 2022. /Mike Deboer Photo
Mission Raceway Park hosted over 45 events in 2022, including the Historic Hot Rod Reunion. /Ken Sanders photo.Mission Raceway Park hosted over 45 events in 2022, including the Historic Hot Rod Reunion. /Ken Sanders photo.
Pictured left to right are NHRA Pro Mod Racers Justin Bond, John De Jonge, Steve Jackson, Khalid Al Balooshi, Steve Sikora at the 2022 Doorwarz event. /Dyan Lover Photo.Pictured left to right are NHRA Pro Mod Racers Justin Bond, John De Jonge, Steve Jackson, Khalid Al Balooshi, Steve Sikora at the 2022 Doorwarz event. /Dyan Lover Photo.
Pro Spec Drifter Chelsea Denofa signd autographs fans in attendance for July’s Spec D drift event. /Blair Howard Photo.Pro Spec Drifter Chelsea Denofa signd autographs fans in attendance for July’s Spec D drift event. /Blair Howard Photo.
‘Smoke, Fire and Thunder’ was the most-attended event for Mission Raceway Park in 2022. /Blair Howard Photo‘Smoke, Fire and Thunder’ was the most-attended event for Mission Raceway Park in 2022. /Blair Howard Photo

Mission Raceway Park is back on track after two years of COVID-limited seasons. The raceway returned in 2022 with a full slate of races, eclipsing the number of events they held pre-pandemic.

The venue hosted upwards of 45 events in 2022 and reported record attendance after capacity limits derailed the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the raceway hosted an average of 30 to 35 events but that number has gone up significantly, says Mission Raceway business manager Kevin Ness.

“We came out of [the pandemic] stronger in a lot of ways because it forced us to reevaluate how we do things and also look at the type of activities we have happening here. It’s brought us new business that has continued even after the pandemic.”

For much of the past few years, spectators were limited to 50 people at the 86-acre park. Ness says the raceway had to find new ways to make money without fans in the stands. The organization developed income sources from parking, driver training, production companies and other businesses with different regulations than sporting events.

“It definitely forced us to pivot in a different direction. We had to really focus on utilizing the facility in any way we could,” Ness said. “We actually came out of it pretty good. I’m not gonna say that we made a ton of money or anything like that — we didn’t — but we didn’t lose a lot of money, which was a breath of fresh air.”

The facility’s usage from April to October climbed in 2022 compared to past years. According to Ness, the day-t0-day use of the facility has doubled since 2019.

Mission Raceway Park contains a three-kilometre motocross track, a nine-turn road course and a quarter-mile drag strip. The drag strip is operated by the BC Custom Car Association (BCCCA), while the road course and motocross tracks are operated by the Sports Car Club of British Columbia (SCCBC).

The most successful events of 2022 were ‘Doorwarz’ and ‘Smoke, Fire and Thunder’, notching the highest attendance of any raceway events in the past year. The 2023 race season is expected to bring more of the same, with events every weekend from April through October.

Mission Raceway hosted its first drag races in August of 1965 and has a storied history, including a trophy case that includes 8 Track of the Year awards from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).

The 2023 season starts in April, with the first road course event scheduled for April 1 and 2. The opening drag racing event is slated for April 22.

“We are constantly growing here and we’re very excited to be a part of the community like we have been for a long time,”Ness said. “One of the things that came from the last couple of years is the fantastic amount of community support that we received in various forms.”

“It’s driven us to do the best we can to make sure that this facility will be here for a long time and always be able to provide entertainment, motor sports and a safe place for people to race. It’s a big part of Mission”

Mission Raceway Park will host its Drag Racing Awards Banquet on Jan. 14.

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