RIVER GLADE, NB – March 24, 2022) – Petty International Raceway will be honouring the legacy of two pioneers of Canadian stock car racing during the June 17th and 18th running of the 58th River Glade International.
Ernie McLean and Pat Rodgers both had significant impacts on stock car racing in Southeastern New Brunswick but their contributions to the sport are felt well beyond county lines. Their innovations and creations have been enjoyed by generations of racers, crew members and fans and will be for several generations to come.
Known to many as the “Godfather of Maritime Motorsports,” Ernie McLean’s contributions to the sport in Canada are vast. Originally from Chatham, Ernie and his wife Winona returned to New Brunswick from Ontario and built River Glade Speedway in 1964. The River Glade International was born in 1965 and was successful from the drop of the first flag. In addition to promoting River Glade Speedway for its first 30 years, they had stepped up to help out several tracks in the Maritimes and were instrumental in the formation of MASCAR, building the foundation of the sport we all enjoy today. Among his accolades, Ernie was awarded with the Canadian Promoter of the Year in 1984, was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2004 and was a founder of the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame, a Hall in which he and Winona were inducted into in 2010. The Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum is located a short drive from Petty International Raceway in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick.
McLean sold River Glade Speedway to Pat Rodgers in 1994. A man who helped change entry level racing in New Brunswick in the ’90s, Pat was the promoter of River Glade Speedway from 1994 to 2004. Along with making several renovations to the historic facility during his tenure, he pioneered the Sunday Drivers class in New Brunswick. This front wheel drive, four cylinder class has been the launching pad for many stock car careers within the Province. Thinking of the racer, it was important to Pat that the division be accessible to everyone who wanted to be a part of the sport while keeping the class affordable. Those goals Pat put forth of accessibility and affordability in the Sunday Drivers division continue to be instilled within several promoters throughout Atlantic Canada.
Several drivers recorded their first big win or their biggest win of their racing career in the River Glade International at River Glade Speedway. Ontario’s John Shirtliff won the inaugural running in 1965 and has seen the likes of Don Biederman, Junior Hanley, Jim Hallahan, Earl Ross, Caleb Dunn, Adelard Cormier, Jimmy Dunn and Frank Fraser, a six time winner, etch their name into history as a winner in the early years of the event. When Petty International Raceway re-opened in 2011, the race became a part of the Maritime Pro Stock Tour schedule and also included a Late Model Sportsman portion of the show. Today’s stars continue to write the next chapters of the prestigious event with Cory Hall (Jolicure, NB; Pro Stock) and Laurie Cormier (Riverview, NB; Sportsman) being the two most recent Late Model winners of the event in 2021.
In 2022, the 58th River Glade International In Memory of Ernie McLean and Pat Rodgers Weekend will see the event play out over two days. The Father’s Day Weekend will begin on Friday, June 17th with a 100-lap Street Stock race with support action from the Four Cylinder Mini Stock and Women on Wheels divisions. The Friday night portion of the weekend will conclude with a two hour Pro Stock/Super Late Model practice. Saturday, June 18th is headlined by the $7,000-to-win Super Late Model 150 and the $4,000-to-win Late Model Sportsman 100. In addition to the big money Late Model shows, the Heart of a Champion Hot Rod Classics powered by Conrad Bros will make their only stop to Petty International Raceway for 2022 and will be joined by the Bandolero division as the opening acts.
The 2022 season begins at Petty International Raceway on Saturday, May 21st with five divisions in actions. The Late Model Sportsman and Street Stock divisions will contest 75-lap features, the Legends will race in Twin 40-lap features with support from the Mini Stock, Atlantic Modified Tour, Bandolero and Women on Wheels divisions.
For complete, up-to-date information on Petty International Raceway including the complete 2022 racing schedule, please visit PettyRaceway.com, follow us on Twitter (@PettyRaceway_NB) and like us on Facebook (@PettyInternationalRaceway).
About Petty International Raceway:
Petty International Raceway is located on Highway 106, just 40 km west of Moncton, New Brunswick. To learn more about Petty International Raceway, its location, admission, policies, history, and more, please visit www.pettyraceway.com
From Tim Terry