Grand Bend Speedway
In 2019, Tabitha Van Bruwaene and her partner Gord Bennett, added the Grand Bend Speedway to their racing empire. They had been operating the Varney International Speedway for several years at the time and saw a lot of potential in the quarter-mile oval track at Grand Bend. They have since sold Varney so that they could focus full-time on Grand Bend.
It had been in use as a junior track for many years, but the couple were sure that they could bring full-size Nascar-style racing to Grand Bend on Thursday and Saturday nights.
Despite the scaled-down seasons of 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, they have been able to expand the program.
Grand Bend’s newest adventure began last summer with the Around the Bend Driving Experience. Thrill-seekers can choose to ride or drive. Get behind the wheel and drive one of the 400+ horsepower late model race cars or get one of the professional drivers to take you for the ride. They even have a modified two-seater car that has a passenger door that opens to make the experience as accessible as possible. (Typically race-car drivers climb in through the window as the doors are sealed shut.) The experience is available by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturday mornings, or stay after the Saturday night race and get a driver to take you along (first-come first-serve).
New this year are go-karts for the whole family. Kids as young as five are able to get the thrill of racing on the oval (with a modified and limited-speed kart, of course). Eventually, Van Bruwaene plans to add movable chicanes to the course to give the go-karts more of a road course feel.
Adult karts take turns in seven-minute sessions with the juniors so that everyone can experience the course at the right speed. There are even a few two-seater cars so that Dad (or Mom) can ride along for junior’s first drive.
The whole site has a festival feel and the Landshark sponsored stage has been added. They even have their own house band, “The Creekie Beaver Boys” that plays a great mix of music, leaning heavily on country. Don’t miss the traditional track fare (hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and nachos) whipped up in their own kitchen.
The second annual Lights Fest is scheduled for September 23. The day-long event begins with music and food vendors on the track infield in the afternoon, as the sun sinks the tiki lights are lit. Eventually, the host company will show everyone how to light their light-weight, biodegradable lantern and send it off in the sky creating a memorable light-show with a musical backdrop.
The lanterns have a specially-designed light plate that allows the light to burn only for a minute and it is safely extinguished before it floats back to the ground. The company then picks up all the lanterns. The Lights Fest is hosted all across the United States and Canada, and is a truly spectacular sight to see.
For a full schedule of racing, or to book your driving experience visit www.grandbendspeedway.ca 70114D Grand Bend Line, Parkhill (Just three minutes from Grand Bend!)