BROCKVILLE -- The racing season at the Brockville Ontario Speedway was supposed to begin in May.

Now, the start of the season is pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s unlikely a full schedule of events can be completed.

Due to the ongoing pandemic and the Ontario Government’s ban on large gatherings, the whole racing year could be lost.

Paul Kirkland has operated the speedway for the past 26 years, and the longer the track sits empty, the more money he will lose.

“In this industry there is no make-up date so if you’ve got 20 weeks to make a year and you lose five weeks, that’s 25 per cent of your year, so that’s a lot to take out of your wages,” said Kirkland.

With the Ontario Government now extending the state of emergency until mid-May, Kirkland is hopeful there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“We were hoping that in May some point we can get opened. If not the first of June and we can carry on the rest of our season,” said Kirkland in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.

“It always is a long offseason. We finish up in October and we (have to wait) until May but this year most of the drivers were ready to go and now we’re all sitting around waiting, it’s unfortunate.”

Local drivers have worked on their cars all winter and they have a lot of money tied up in their cars and the hobby.

Dave Wilgosh was excited for his 30th year racing at the track. Now he waits for the green flag to go racing.

“It’s affecting us by having money tied up and not being able to use it as far as any other small business,  but more than that it’s everybody’s passion. They can’t get out and do their stuff,” said Wilgosh.

On a typical Saturday night, a couple thousand race fans would be at the track, along with over 100 drivers and their pit crews.

“There’s a lot of guys that it affects. Their teams, and families, and sponsors and our sponsors and fans.  The run off from that is restaurants, gas stations, hotels .. it has a big effect on everybody,” said Kirkland.

The Quebec Government announced last Friday that all sporting events are banned until August 31. That would wipe out the entire racing season if Ontario follows suit.

Both men agree that if everyone keeps practicing physical distancing, the race season might be saved.

“We need to stay focused and stay positive and the longer we stay in self-isolation and get this behind us, the sooner we can go racing,” said Kirkland.

“I’ve talked to other drivers around the area and they feel the same way I do. Health is number one for our fans, spectators, crew members and drivers and hopefully we can get back” Wilgosh added.

Kirkland remains optimistic though, even if the only event he holds might be in October.

“We’re still working on the race track and painting things and getting things ready to go. Our last event is scheduled for the middle of October so I guess worst case scenario is we get an October weekend in and we’ll have a great fall nationals,” said Kirkland.

“It’ll be one hell of a party.”