With fresh ideas and new sponsorships afoot, it’s shaping up to be an exciting year at the newly renamed WL Forestry/NAPA Thunder Mountain Speedway.
Ken Waslen, vice president of the club, said organizers have been working hard behind the scenes to come back stronger than ever after two tough years of the pandemic. Changes include working with racing organizations in Prince George and Quesnel to synchronize racing rules and to set a balanced race schedule “for the first time ever” with no conflicting dates between the cities.
“We got together and hammered out rules and a schedule that works for everyone,” said Waslen, who noted the group is also very grateful for the new annual sponsorship agreement with WL Forestry Supplies/NAPA as well as from Daily Stash Cannabis, who will sponsor the Hornet class.
“We are really excited about the sponsorships because that allows us to add to purses and keep the track up.”
WL Forestry Supplies/NAPA owner Chip Schick said the choice to support the local race track was an easy one as he has been a fan of racing in Williams Lake all his life, recalling sleeping in his Lake Auto Racing Club hat as a kid and taking his driver’s test with a 1972 Charger.
“I grew up as a gearhead watching races at the old Sugar Cane track back in the days of Shuster Johnson and Karl Seibert,” said Schick of his love for the sport. “I’ve always been into cars so when I had the opportunity (to partner with Thunder Mountain) I said yes. And it supports the guys who support us.”
As well as the new sponsorship partners, the club is also setting their sights on making the Stampede racing weekend their biggest and best event of the year, with live music, fireworks and liquor sales to go along with the all class invitational and tri-cities races, hit-to-pass and smoke show. VIP parking for spectators could also be a part of the new season.
“We want Stampede to be our hallmark event, one everybody will circle on their calendar,” Waslen said.
The first event of the season to “shake off the dust” will be the Tech n’ Tune on May 21 which will feature the four cylinder mini stock class, which is a new race class this year that is faster and more technical than the bone stocks. The bone stocks, meanwhile, will be replaced with the hornet class which will allow for increased horsepower.
Another new rule this year will see the age of eligible drivers reduced to 12 on the track, with 10 year olds allowed in the pits.
“We want to make it a family event. We don’t want mom and kids to stay home while dad is off racing every weekend.”
WL Forestry/NAPA Thunder Mountain Speedway is aiming for eight events this year, welcoming back many local racing families including the Bettles, Fischers, Lempkes and Kunkas.
Waslen is also encouraging race fans to donate to an online fundraiser to support local racer Donny Kunka who was burned in an accident recently.