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 off Wednesday 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.
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.