Friday, September 06, 2013

Family Fun at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

I have to be honest - I've never been a fan of racing. It may be because growing up we had just one TV (it was the 70s!) and my dad always watched racing on weekend afternoons, at least when there was no baseball on. I couldn't understand the appeal of watching cars drive 'round and 'round in circles for hours on end. I think the experience turned me off the sport.

But, my kids always loved the movie "Cars," and I'm always up to try something new (except eating bugs), so when Canadian Tire invited me out to Bowmanville this past weekend to take in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 and the NASCAR World Camping Truck Series at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, I said, "why
Little Boo and I headed east as Hubs headed west with the Teen to move him into his college residence (wow!) We had lots to keep us occupied and not thinking about that big life change. There was a great family fun area set up during this race weekend, including bouncy castles, mini-putt, and glitter tattoos. Displays of vintage Canadian Tire memorabilia completed the fun.

Experiencing the race culture at the track was really interesting. There were a huge number of tents and trailers on site as individuals and families came to stay for the weekend. The road track is just under 4 km, and the whole park is 750 acres, so there's a lot of ground to cover and plenty of space for parking and camping. One thing I would have liked to see is more directional signage. I felt a little lost at points, and had to be turned around by security when we tried to find our way out at the end of the day.

There were concessions at various points on the grounds, plus Canadian Tire had a fan zone set up at one of the turns where they were providing complimentary popcorn, snacks and water to visitors. There are bleachers in this fan zone as well. I really appreciated the golf cart shuttles that Canadian Tire had circling the grounds, eliminating some of our walking.

So, what about the racing? Well, it's hard to describe just how incredibly fast those cars and trucks go. It's exhilarating to see. The adrenaline rush as the cars sped by was pretty awesome. It's also really loud! Little Boo complained of the noise, and the ear plugs we had for him didn't fit very well. Consider bringing some kind of noise cancelling headphones or other hearing protection, especially for the little ones.
Highlight! Little Boo got to sit in an actual race car. (Jumping in through the window still always reminds me of the Dukes of Hazzard.) All of the drivers and their crew that we saw seemed really friendly, taking pictures and giving autographs.
This is a tire from that car - not a shred of tread left. Holy Cow!
This event was such a new experience for us, and a lot of fun. If you're going to the track be prepared with hearing protection for the kids, and don't forget to bring along some chairs to sit in track-side. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park does allow you to bring in your own food and drink, even alcohol if it is in cans. Very civilised! Oh! Kids 12 and under get in free with adult race day admission.

And if you ever wondered what it would be like to race yourself, check out their driving/riding experiences.

How do I feel about racing now? Well, I don't think I've become an instant fan, and I doubt I'll ever get into watching it on TV, but I have to say that is a great experience in person. We had a really good time!

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive a complimentary pass for the event and race day merchandise.

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