“Start your engines - we’re racing!”
That was how Blake Outhouse answered his phone Wednesday night … when it rang every five seconds!
Thanks to an army of volunteers, the green flag will be waving this Saturday night at South Buxton Raceway.
Close to 40 people came out to the track to help clean up and repair the damage left behind by vandals overnight Sunday-early Monday.
“We have drivers and crews and fans and families and kids … it ’s truly amazing the number of people we have out here tonight,” the track promoter said.
The workers vacuumed up glass from smashed windshields throughout the pits, helped replace windshields in the ambulance, water truck and tractor.
The ambulance, which received the most damage, was scrubbed inside and out and supplies were completely restocked, thanks to donations by several individuals.
“Amazing …,” Outhouse repeated at the response of the racing community.
When Outhouse first discovered the vandalism early Monday morning, he was afraid he would have to cancel racing for at least one week - and maybe longer.
But he credits the overwhelming support from the racing community for getting the facility and equipment back in shape just two days later.
Defending UMP Late Model points champion Gregg Haskell posted on his Facebook page earlier Wednesday that drivers will be coming over to the grandstands at intermission to ‘pass the helmet,’ hoping that fans will make small donations that will add up to help defray the costs of repairs.
Outhouse Image & Design will host a car wash, barbecue and silent auction on Sunday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
John Schinkels, of Schinkels Gourmet Meats, is donating the hamburgs and hot dogs and Mark Lush, of Giant Tiger, is donating the buns and condiments.
Some of the prizes include two tickets to the Patriots Canadian Mid-Season Championship at South Buxton June 22 and tickets to the Grand Bend MotorPlex.
Several drivers have stepped up and donated prizes for the auction and many have posted on social media they will be donating their earnings back to the track.
There are also plans in the works for a pre-race barbecue at the track before the June 1 Memorial race night.
Once the cost of repairs from the vandalism are covered, proceeds from these various fund-raisers will go towards enhancing and expanding the track’s security camera system.
“This racing community is unbelievable, I mean totally unbelievable … it’s very humbling,” said an emotional Outhouse on Tuesday … a night before the big work party came together to ensure the drivers they’ll be able to race and that fans can come on out and enjoy their favourite pastime.
The incident is under investigation by the Chatham-Kent Police Service.
It is the second occurrence of vandalism this month, as culprits damaged the water truck before the May 4 season opening night.
Anyone who has information on either incident is asked to call Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tip forms are also available on line at www.crime-stoppers.on.ca
You may be eligible for a cash reward.
You can also 519-809-3587 and leave a message.
Your identity will be kept confidential by calling either number.