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Richard Schutte’s dream comes true with new speedway

Richard Schutte’s dream comes true with new speedway

Breathing life into a swamp

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~~~~~~~  June 26, 2021 (LSN)  Much of my youth into my early teens was spent rooting for my Dad at Riverview raceway on race nights in Thunder Bay. Richard Schutte, #22 was what he was known by most. My Dad has an undying love for the sport which has followed him through the years even to this day.

The smell of the clay from the track that would stick to the stock cars, vinegar and french fries at the concession, the taste of fresh cherries that my Grandma Schutte lovingly packed to take to the races are all fond memories of my childhood.                 My Dad was and still is my hero. Thoughts of the excitement of the green flag to signal the start of the race still stirs a passion within my inner child. Flashbacks of the checkered flag waving wildly signalling my Dad that he won a race was more that exciting, it was beyond winning the ultimate lottery! My fondest memories still live within those days of my youth.
 Dairy Queen Speedway

It was sad when my Father ended his weekly race car driving career. My Father forever longed to have the citizens of Thunder Bay once again partake in the love of racing and spectating in our city. My Dad loved the idea so much that he got together with a few would be partners and set out to purchase the former Riverview Raceway. Unfortunately, the dream was stalled due to some unforeseen hurdles that squashed the sale. With the unwavering support of his wife Linda, my Dad never gave up the raceway dream.

  Flash forwards a few years into the future. Dad toiled endlessly to find the right property to spark the idea once more. He researched and found that his dream was one step closer when he and a partner found and purchased a property to build a track! Ten years ago, this June 14, 2021, he purchased 32 acres of land located on Highway 130 and the next chapter began. Was it ideal land for a track? No, it was swampy and required endless hours of hard labour to resemble land for a racetrack.  He had many roadblocks to dodge and mountains of paperwork to sift through to get all the required legalities completed but he endured and accomplished them all. He purchased some used heavy equipment to start transforming this swamp into a racetrack. He spent many of his days and evenings on the bulldozer pushing fill around that was brought to him from people willing to donate. Each of those thousands of loads of fill got him again one step closer to his dream. He spent many hours at the track often by himself pushing and filling to no end. At one point amidst trying to build the perfect landscape for the track the partner of my Father's decided that he was no longer interested in bringing this land to life. Did this detract from his dream? Of course not, it pushed him even harder. His dedication was unstoppable. 

Dairy Queen Raceway

  A time passed and Dad acquired 2 new partners that escalated his progress and with a passion and knowledge that was greatly welcomed. Norm and Louis Nadine were the perfect combination of skill and dedication that mirrored my Father's passion to build it. I want to formally thank Norm and Louis from myself and my family for every part they played in making this dream a reality.

Video by Kyle Monteith

With all the hard work of my Father, Norm and Louis Nadin the dream my father dreamed is now the closest it has even been. The track of my Fathers vision is now reality. This coming September will be the official opening of the Dairy Queen International Speedway. I can hardly wait to hear, "RACERS,,,,,,,,,,,START,,,,,,,,,,YOUR,,,,,,,,,ENGINES!!!!!!"

  The nay sayers often taunted my Father saying, "You can't build a racetrack on a swamp!" His proud response to that is, "Well I DID!!!!!!"

Let's Race Thunder Bay and see you all at the track!


Story and photos by
Lynn Schutte-Martin




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