Engines roar; the smell of burnt rubber and exhaust hangs in the air. It’s nearly time for a new racing season at Forestburg’s Area 53 Raceway.
After a couple of years of work at the track, Corey Kozey, one of the driving forces behind the family-friendly venue, says that not much is changing at the site for the 2023 racing season.
According to Kozey, changes being contemplated are primarily around the volunteer workforce; one idea is adding an outside window to the old airport’s office building to use as racer registration and another is moving spectator parking closer to the actual track.
“We’re trying to keep everyone out of the sun,” said Kozey.
“We have limited staff, we’re trying not to have people spread out. We’re trying to make it easier on ourselves.”
While the track will be hosting a new-racers event on Sat, May 13, the first official race weekend of the year will take place May 20-22.
One new addition being added for racers is the inclusion of the Care 53 Point Series. Racers will accumulate points between both Forestburg and Central Alberta Raceways in Rimbey.
“We’re trying something new this year,” said Kozey.
Kozey says that the points series is designed as a way to get racers travelling to both tracks.
To keep costs down for spectators, Kozey says the track has decided to keep admission by donation to the food bank.
“We’re trying to keep (costs) down,” said Kozey.
Keeping in mind escalating costs for fuel, parts, and all the other expenses associated with racing, Area 53 has also decided to keep registration fees for 2023 the same as in 2022.
Area 53 is one of several sole-purpose drag tracks in the province. Medicine Hat, Beaverlodge, Edmonton and Rimbey are others.
Forestburg’s track is operated on the former Forestburg Airport runway.
In addition to the drag strips, many municipalities have drag events throughout the summer months, including the Stettler Magnetos Shootout at the Stettler Airport and the Hanna Drag Races at the Hanna Airport, both in July 2023.
“You could race every weekend of the year if you wanted,” said Kozey.
“We’re hoping for a good year this year.”