JAMES RIVER, NS (July 10, 2017) – The countdown is on for the 2017 edition of Canada’s ultimate stock car race – the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis set for this Saturday at Riverside International Speedway. As the event draws closer the stage is set for what should be the biggest IWK 250 yet.
Special guests include Mark Martin, a NASCAR Hall of Fame driver who is coming out of retirement to compete in the IWK 250 driving the Cat Car for Kids sponsored by Atlantic Cat, and Chocolate Myers, the legendary fuel man for Dale Earnhardt Sr. and host of ‘Tradin Paint’ a NASCAR talk show broadcast five days a week on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Special treats include the Friday unveiling of a fully-restored vintage race car, a 1967 Chevelle that five-time Maritime touring series champion Greg Sewart got his start in, and the IWK 250 Tailgate Party featuring Signal Hill on Thursday.
To-date, 87 race teams have entered to compete in the three races scheduled for the four-day speedfest. Things kick offWednesday with an open practice for Sportsman and Legends and on Thursday there is an open practice for Pro Stocks followed by the IWK 250 Tailgate Party featuring Signal Hill. On Friday it’s the R&D Performancenter 150 for the NAPA Sportsman Series and the Farrell’s Excavating Maritime Legends Challenge presented by NAPA Auto Parts.Saturday it’s the IWK 250 where 39 teams have entered in hopes of taking the checkers for the biggest race of the year.
Since its inception in 2007, the IWK 250 has raised awareness and more than $410,000 for the IWK Foundation.
IWK 250 Entry List is Stacked With Talent
The expected entry list for the IWK 250 sits at 39 teams including drivers from six Canadian provinces and three states in the U.S. There are four returning race champions (Donald Chisholm, John Flemming, Darren MacKinnon, and Kent Vincent), 12 pro stock series and division champions (Martin, Chisholm, Flemming, Cassius Clark, Cole Butcher, Shawn Turple, Greg Fahey, Dave O’Blenis, Lonnie Sommerville, Jeff Fultz), and three drivers who can become the Maritime’s first-ever Triple Crown winner (Sommerville, Clark, and Craig Slaunwhite). The complete expected entry list is attached.
Martin Respectful of Talent in Field
Mark Martin has won 96 races in NASCAR’s top three series, is a five-time IROC champion, a three-time ASA champion, has been inducted in three Hall of Fames, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame earlier this year. And yet he realizes it will be an uphill battle if he hopes to become only the second NASCAR ace to ever win the IWK 250. He spoke about the subject in an interview this week, saying “If I were to pull off a win, it would be a huge win, because I know I have obstacles to overcome. To be able to beat the competition would be incredibly difficult…I do have a great car, a great team behind me. We will take it on and we will race. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and I’d love to win the race but I also know that won’t come easy.”
Heat Races Will be Fierce
With 39 teams entered in the IWK 250 and attempting to qualify for a 30-car starting grid, the Atlantic Tiltload Heat races will be exciting. The top four in each of an anticipated five heat races will transfer to set the top 20 lineup then the rest will run the Last Chance Race in which the top two will transfer to the IWK 250. The balance of the starting spots will be set with provisional spots as determined by PST and track officials. Qualifying heat races to set the starting grid for the IWK 250 will start Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Series Regulars Vs. Long Haul Ringers
With the IWK 250 being a championship points race for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour (PST), series regulars will be looking to protect their ‘turf’ from a bevy of drivers from outside the region who are making the long trek to Riverside for the event. Besides Martin, there is multi-time multi-series short track champion Jeff Fultz from North Carolina, PASS champion Cassius Clark from Maine, Ontario’s Jason Hathaway – a multi-time winner on the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, and Gary Elliott – Canada’s ‘Iron Man’ of stock car racing in his 49th year of racing with two championships and over 1200 starts. Josh Collins will represent Newfoundland fresh off his best-ever PST finish at Riverside – a fifth in June, and Kyle Reid, a native of Sydney, will travel from his home in Alberta to make the race.
Rookies on the Rise
Four PST Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year contenders have entered the IWK 250. Nicholas Naugle finished seventh in the June PST race at Riverside, Jarrett Butcher finished eighth, Robbie MacEwen finished 10th, and Stephen Lively finished 17th. All will be looking to become the first-ever rookie to take home the IWK 250 trophy.
The Butcher brothers will compete against each other in the IWK 250. Cole, the defending PST champion has 13 starts at Riverside and is looking for his first-ever win at the renowned track while his brother, Jarrett Butcher, made an impressive debut at Riverside in June, finishing eighth. On Friday, the R&D Performancenter Sportsman 150 will see brothers Jeffrey Breen and Corey Breen from Antigonish go door-to-door and the brother’s Farrell, Will and Waylon, will make the haul from Newfoundland to compete against each other in the Maritime Legends Challenge.
Looking for Back-to-Back Wins
Three drivers have the chance to go back-to-back in Victory Lane over the IWK 250 Super Race Weekend. Colby Smith won the sportsman race last year, Braden Langille won the Legends Cars race, and Donald Chisholm is the 2016 IWK 250 Champion.
Josh Collins, from Jerseyside, NL, has entered the R&D Performancenter 150 on Friday and the IWK 250 on Saturdayfor a total anticipated 350 laps of competition on the high banks of Riverside International Speedway.
Six Down, Six to Go
The IWK 250 marks the halfway point in the PST chase for the championship. Dylan Blenkhorn leads the current series point standings followed by two-time PST champion Shawn Turple. Dylan Gosbee is third and Cole Butcher sits fourth. Greg Proude rounds out the top five points-getters year-to-date. The IWK 250 is a points race for the PST competitors so while racing for the glory of winning the event is one thing, gaining points is also on their radar. Complete series standings can be found online at www.maritimeprostocktour.com.
Quest for the Cup, the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup
The majestic custom made trophy was unveiled in 2015 and instantly became a symbol of excellence representing its namesake, the late John Chisholm – founder and builder of Riverside International Speedway and co-founder of the IWK 250. Having their name engraved on this majestic custom-made trophy is equally as meaningful as all the other accolades that go with being an IWK 250 Champion.
Going for 100 Grand
Total offerings for the weekend are over $100,000. The winner of the IWK 250 is guaranteed $10,000 and can take home as much as $17,100.
While 2017 marks the 11th edition of the IWK 250, Riverside has hosted this historic event since 1977 when Ontario’s Billy Watson became the inaugural winner. Other former “Riverside 250” winners include the late Scott Fraser (six wins), the late Don Biederman (three wins), five-time Maritime champion Greg Sewart (two wins), Maritime racing legend Frank Fraser (two wins), North America short track legend Junior Hanley (two wins), four-time Maritime champion Terry Clattenburg, two-time Maritime champion Rollie MacDonald, Maritime racing veteran Mike MacKenzie, Maine’s Ben Rowe, Chisholm, Flemming, MacKinnon, Vincent, Halifax’s Wayne Smith and Fredericton’s NB’s Shawn Tucker. Scott Fraser, Sewart, Biederman, MacDonald, and Hanley are members of both the Canadian and Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame, and Frank Fraser, Clattenburg, and MacKenzie are members of the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Opening Act – Sportsman & Legends On Track Friday Night
The NAPA Sportsman Series will see round two of four in their 2017 title chase on Friday with the R&D Performancenter 150 – extended from the 100-lap feature in the past. Among the notable names on the entry list is Wayne Smith, a six-time Maritime pro stock touring series champion. now retired from full-time competition. With a $10,000 purse, this race is the richest on the regional sportsman circuit. Also on the card Friday night is the Farrell’s Excavating Maritime Legends Challenge for the Maritime League of Legends, round two of 10 in the series chase for the championship. This event is one of two stops at Riverside for the series this year. Both series will qualify with heat races to set the starting grids for the features. Both races are championship points races for their respective sanctioning series.
Friday Day Things to Do
Fans in the Antigonish area on Friday will want to visit Ron MacGillivray Chev Buick GMC and Keltic Ford, both long-time supporters of Riverside International Speedway. Ron MacGillivray Chev will have a special Meet’N’Greet with Chocolate Myers between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. along with a BBQ. Keltic Ford will be hosting its annual Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a BBQ, Ford classic cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and will have a special fundraising banner for fans to sign that will see Keltic Ford make a donation to the IWK based on the number of fan signatures they get.
Atlantic Cat Kids Tent
The Atlantic Cat Kids Tent will be by Mark Martin and the Cat Car for Kids during the autograph session (5:30 p.m. on Saturday) and have free goodies for the kids.
Fans Urged to Get Advance Tickets & Arrive Early
With a record crowd expected to attend the IWK 250 fans who want to avoid lineups (in traffic and at the box office) are encouraged to take advantage of advance ticket sales, and to arrive early. Plenty of good seats remain and can be purchased using the Order & Pay Online system at RiversideSpeedway.ca. Advance ticket sales close Thursday at 5 p.m. Tickets will be available at the track box office starting at 4 p.m. Friday and at Noon on Saturday. Please note reserved seats are only available in advance so must be purchased by Thursday. Fans with advance tickets will be able to use the express entry lane at the gate on race day.
Still a Few RV Spots Left; Reservations Close Wednesday at 5 p.m.
With an estimated 1,000 campsites reserved already, a few remain in the new overflow space. All campers (RV’s, tents, etc.) require an advance reservation to stay overnight on Riverside owned or operated property from July 12 until July 16. Anyone still looking for a campsite can make their application online in the ‘Order & Pay Online’ section atwww.riversidespeedway.ca.
Mark Your Calendar
Thursday evening its the IWK 250 Tailgate Party featuring Signal Hill starting at 9 p.m. – the box office opens at 6 p.m.Racing starts Friday at 7 p.m.; the box office and grandstand open at 4 p.m. On Saturday the grandstand opens at Noon; Atlantic Tiltload Heat Races start at 4:30 p.m., the pre-race show featuring an autograph session and live entertainment with ‘Jug in Hand’ is at 5:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m., followed by the green flag for the IWK 250.
Riverside International Speedway is recognized as a premiere stock racing facility in Canada. The 1/3-mile high banked asphalt oval roars to action several times a year for special events. It is the home for eastern Canada’s only NASCAR event, and of the IWK 250 – widely known as the best stock car race in Canada. Located in James River, between New Glasgow and Antigonish, the facility is easily accessible at exit 30 on Trans Canada Highway 104. For more information call 902.863.2410 or click www.riversidespeedway.ca.