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‘It’s a passion’: Wyant Group Raceway volunteers put in long hours preparing for season

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‘It’s a passion’: Wyant Group Raceway volunteers put in long hours preparing for season
WATCH ABOVE: Stock car racing returns to Wyant Group Raceway but long before the season begins a large group of volunteers devote countless hours – May 18, 2018

Every summer Saskatoon’s Wyant Group Raceway comes alive with the unmistakable sights and sounds of stock car racing but long before the green flag flies a small army of volunteers is hard at work getting the track ready for the season.

From applying a fresh coat of paint to putting up billboards around the track and performing routine maintenance, there’s a lot of work to be done. Roughly 85 people pitched in this year and all for the same reason.

“It’s a passion … there’s a lot of people that aren’t involved with a race team that are just volunteers out here that spend a lot of hours. They’re here every day after work for three or four hours a night getting everything ready,” said Andrew Clewes, president of the Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Association (SSCRA), which operates Wyant Group Raceway.

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Prepping the track is only part of the equation. Every race vehicle needs to pass inspections not just prior to the season but throughout as well. The crew of eight inspectors have to ensure they are up to speed on all the latest tricks teams employ to gain an edge.

“Every team’s pushing it all the time so you’re always looking and trying to stay one step ahead of the teams for the most part and lo and behold there’s always somebody out there that is an innovator,” SSCRA competition director Neil Schneider said.

With nearly 100 teams coming through each season that’s a lot to watch for but like the rest of the work being done to get ready for the season it’s a labour of love that has helped establish the raceway as one of the top facilities of its kind in Canada.

“This is like the crown jewel … We get to go to a lot of different places and you come back here, you kiss the pavement when you come back. There’s so many people who are just unaware of what we have here,” Scheider said.

The 2018 racing season begins May 26 and thanks to the dedication of all those volunteers, all that’s left to do is fire up the engines.

‘The bulk of the work is done, the busy-ness is done, so it’s just a matter of can’t wait ’til opening day,” Clewes said.

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