The COVID-19 pandemic has been felt in the short track racing scene, both here in the United States and around the world. The Ontario-based APC United Late Model Series has already canceled their season opener at Sunset Speedway next month, with the rest of the 2020 schedule uncertain at this juncture.
APC United Late Model Series President Luke Ramsay joined “The Bullring” Tuesday afternoon to discuss APC’s plan for the season amid the outbreak. The Canadian federal government has set stricter social distancing measures to combat the virus than here in the states, and he feels like it will have a much bigger impact on the 2020 schedule than first thought.
“We are shut down, we can’t have gatherings of more than five people. All nonessential businesses are closed down until at least April 23. We’ve canceled our event in May at Sunset Speedway, and I feel that most likely our events will be canceled in June,” Ramsay said. “Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to do some racing here soon. I don’t see all restrictions being lifted right away, I’m sure it’s going to be a step-by-step process. Once the gatherings get up and we can have a group of people together at the racetrack, we look forward to being there.”
Ontario’s eastern neighbor, Quebec, released a statement requesting the cancellation of indoor and outdoor events planned in the province until August 31, 2020. While APC does not venture into Quebec, it’s still something Ramsay keeps an eye on with his series in Ontario, remaining involved with the efforts as much as possible through several contacts.
“We certainly try to be involved. We are reaching out to some of the contacts we have here in Ontario to find out. I think the issue is it’s such a moving target. Nobody knows where this is going to go or how fast they can flatten the curve, as they say. I think they’re going to err on the side of caution.
“We obviously are concerned we could potentially lose the entire race season, I’m hoping that’s not the case. Regardless, I can tell you the guys from the APC Series and the sponsors are committed. We’ll definitely be gearing up for when we do go racing again.”
In the meantime, APC has done what countless other series around the world have done and joined the eSports community with races of their own. They recently held their first APC eSeries race last Thursday at USA International Speedway, which went so well they have added another race this Thursday at Richmond Raceway for APC competitors, team members, and officials. Even Ramsay himself was talked into attempting Thursday’s race with his drivers.
With the uncertainty of today’s times, it gives Ramsay something to look forward to in the absence of real-life racing.
“We’re very fortunate to have guys in the series like Ryan and Jamie Dyson that have experience putting those events on. They’ve brought a group of people to make it happen, it’s certainly not my expertise. It was lots of fun, people are looking for something to do, it got a lot of responses and brought a lot of people together. It’s something to look forward to. That’s one of my biggest challenges today, when you go to work on a Monday or Tuesday you couldn’t wait to get to the racetrack on the weekend and right now there’s not a whole lot to look forward to.”
The APC Series has quickly become one of the fastest-growing short track touring series in all of North America. The series averaged nearly 30 cars a race last season, the second most out of any traveling series on the continent. As they continue to look forward to when the 2020 season will begin, they look to continue growing in Ontario while doing what’s best for everyone involved.
“We’re very fortunate to have the teams we have, these guys are great. They did a lot of work to set up and participate in that. I’ve said before, we’re still a relatively new series, we’re going into our sixth season. The series’ success is all thanks to the guys on the teams that support us each and every week.
“We’ve tried to do everything we said we’re going to do as a series and the teams and sponsors and tracks have done everything they’ve said they’re going to do. It’s a great relationship, people know what to expect and we’re trying our best to meet their expectations. It hasn’t been without issue for sure, as you are well aware with any race series. At the end of the day we’re all in this together, every decision we make has to be for all of us.”
Click here to watch a replay of “The Bullring” from Tuesday night.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: APC United Late Model Series