Locals Revved Up For Race Track’s Opening Weekend 

In an empty parking lot in Function Junction, Randy Goodwin and some friends have been bent under the hood of an old car for months on end.

When it first arrived on the scene it wasn’t much to look at – a dull grey body with no motor and no obvious promise.

But five and half months later a dark blue beauty emerged, with a bold number seven painted on each side, colourful decals on the body and a motor that was revving to race.

And just in time.

Number 7, the Whistler Glass car with Goodwin behind the wheel, will be roaring around the Pemberton Race Track on its inaugural weekend, Sept. 20-21.

"I didn’t want to get involved yet until the local track was done, being a family man and being busy all the time," said Goodwin, adding he didn’t have time to travel to different tracks every weekend.

"So I just waited until… the Pemberton track was ready.

"Well it’s ready and here I am."

Like Goodwin’s car, the racetrack itself has been a labour of love.

It was four years ago that half a dozen race enthusiasts got together to form the Pemberton Stock Car Association. Their goal was to get a local racetrack.

It took 18 months to find and secure the location, a stretch of B.C. Hydro land on the east side of the highway between Whistler and Pemberton. It then took another two years to build.

"I think there was a core group of us that we were in so deep we just couldn’t quit," said Norm Leblanc, one of the founding members of the Stock Car Association.

"We knew it was just a huge endeavour but the deeper we got into it, the more resolve we had to finish."

The volunteers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in donated time and equipment on the track. Whereas some tracks can be carved out of existing clay, the Pemberton Race Track was excavated, built up with gravel and then tonnes of clay were hauled into the area.

"There were some pretty big grins on our faces when we finally were running cars (in practice laps) on the track," said Leblanc.

Goodwin has already been testing out the new track for next weekend’s inaugural race.

"It was awesome, huge sweeping corners... fantastic!" he said.

"It’s like having your own playground right down the street."

The first stock car race will take place on the new Pemberton Track at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 (time trials start at 3 p.m.) The Sunday races start at 11 p.m.

"It’ll just be a great day (with) obviously a sense of accomplishment and a certain amount of pride hopefully," said Leblanc, who is an avid stock car racer himself.

"And just to be able to compete and do these things locally will be just such a huge thing for me."

Goodwin has already put a few bumps and bruises on the Whistler Glass car. The motor blew at a race in Lillooet and the car smashed into a wall at a race in Merritt. But Goodwin said he’s just paying his dues, learning how to drive.

"This is the experience of our green season – blown motor, smashed the front end in another race... The first year we’ve almost done it all practically... except win."

Though stock car racing is strictly a fun hobby he said, he’s also hoping to take home some hardware soon too.

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