“It has been my sincere pleasure to be involved with Heart of a Champion through Steele Mazda for the past two years," said Pat Lawrence, Heart of a Champion team leader. "Fundraising and giving back are cornerstones for the group, which makes this new partnership with the IWK so exciting. Toys, race cars and kids go hand-in-hand so through our fundraising efforts we foresee many happy faces in the coming months."
The Toys for Kids collection center will be set up at the entry to the Speedway. The IWK Health Centre has provided a list of items which can help make tough times at the hospital a little brighter, including new unused unwrapped toys, books, and gift cards. All donations are gratefully accepted and everyone who makes a contribution of items or cash will get a chance to win Official Riverside swag. Anyone in the Halifax Regional Municipality area wishing to make a donation to the toy drive that can't make it to Riverside can drop it off at Steele Mazda in Dartmouth from now through July 20. In the Antigonish area, donations can be dropped off at the Riverside office at 21b James Street (next to Needs Convenience store).
Heart of a Champion was founded in 2017 to help preserve stock car racing history in the Maritime provinces. The volunteer group restored a 1967 Chevelle race car which was unveiled at the 2017 edition of the IWK 250 and has since added a vintage open wheel modified race car to its collection. The group has a strong social media presence with over 5,300 followers who enjoy vintage racing photos, video clips, and stories.
The vintage open wheel modified race car will be on display Friday afternoon and Saturday at the Toys for Kids toy drive collection area as well as make an appearance on track Friday evening in conjunction with a special announcement by the group.
The IWK 250 weekend also includes a visit to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax when patients and their families will have a chance to visit with NASCAR personality Kenny Wallace, defending champion of the IWK 250 and driver of the Cat Car for Kids. The race car will also be at the hospital for the kids to sign as co-sponsors with Toromont Cat. The hospital visit is a private event.
The IWK 250 Super Race Weekend kicks off on Wednesday, July 17 at 5 p.m. when the campground opens and with practice for teams in the NAPA Sportsman Series and Maritime League of Legends. Thursday, July 18 sees practice for the IWK 250 and the annual IWK 250 Tailgate Party, this year featuring a concert by east coast music legends, the Matt Minglewood Band. Friday it's the Henry's AUTOPRO 100 and the Maritime League of Legends. Saturday it's the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis, a championship points event for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour which has historically attracted challengers from outside the series all hoping to take home the unique trophy and see their name engraved into perpetuity on the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup.
Besides being recognized as one of the most anticipated stock car races in Canada, the IWK 250 helps raise awareness and funding for the IWK Health Centre with more than $480,000 donated to the IWK Foundation since 2007.
The value-packed IWK 250 Weekend Pass (includes admission for Thursday, Friday, Saturday), single-day tickets, and campsite reservations are available online at www.RiversideSpeedway.ca. Campsite availability is very limited and all sites must be reserved in advance, i.e. no drive-ups. Fans should also be aware reserved seats are also limited and only available until July 18.
Riverside Speedway opened in 1969 under the helm of Antigonish businessman John Chisholm. It was sold in 1989 and bought back by Mr. Chisholm late in 2005, rebuilt in 2006 and rebranded Riverside International Speedway. For 50 years, the popular 1/3-mile high-banked asphalt oval has provided generations of race fans with some of the best stock car racing entertainment in North America.
To learn more about Heart of a Champion please visit www.heartofachamp.ca or follow on Facebook at HeartofaChampion.
Riverside International Speedway is recognized as a premier stock car 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 of the IWK 250 – widely known as the best stock-car race in Canada, and of the Bumper to Bumper 300 - eastern Canada’s only NASCAR event. 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 please visit www.riversidespeedway.ca.