Ontario’s Gary Elliott Making Trek to IWK 250 in July
JAMES RIVER, NS (June 21, 2016) – The man who has amassed more career starts than any other stock car racer in Canada, Gary Elliott, has filed his entry for the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body. Known as the ‘Iron Man’ of Canadian stock car racing Elliott, who hails from Dundas, Ontario, will make his first start in the prestigious event and sees it as the biggest race in his 48-year racing career.
A two-time champion in the Canadian Vintage Modified series, Elliott has 1,202 career starts on his resume with a consecutive streak of 753 events – that’s an amazing 38 seasons with perfect attendance. He calls his IWK 250 trip the ‘Going Home Tour’ since he was born in Truro, where he still has many relatives and friends.
“I am so thrilled to be going back home for the most exciting event of my career,” said Elliott. “It will be in front of the biggest crowd, too, which will include many of my family. And it will have the best field of competitors. I thank God for allowing me to do what I love to do, race. And for bringing so many friends, fans, competitors, promoters and sponsors into my life. This continues to be an awesome journey that is truly about the people I’ve met.”
For the IWK 250, Elliott’s entry is reminiscent of its formative years in the late 70s and 80s when Ontario racers regularly made the trek to Riverside, In fact, the very first winner of the event historically referred to as the ‘Riverside 250’ was Ontario’s Billy Watson. Others who have taken the ‘250’ title back to Ontario include three-time winner Don Biederman and two-time winner Junior Hanley (a native of Port Mouton, NS).
“It’s very cool that the IWK 250 continues to attract racers from outside our region,” said Paul McLean, general manager of Riverside International Speedway. “Especially Ontario racers, with whom Riverside enjoys a historical connection. We hope more will visit us in the coming years.”
Besides Elliott’s impressive career stats, he also enjoys perhaps the longest standing sponsor relationship among Canadian racers – 2016 marks his 43rd season representing Quaker State. He is still fundraising for the ‘Going Home Tour’ and will host an event at his home in Dundas on July 10 where fans can enjoy a BBQ, win prizes, meet his crew and see his cars. Corporate sponsors who are interested in supporting his venture can contact him directly at 905-928-8086.
Once he arrives in Nova Scotia, fans can meet him and see his car on July 13 at the Victoria Hall Fundraiser in Bass River, on July 14 at the Canadian Tire in Truro, and on July 15 at the Walmart in Antigonish.
The IWK 250 weekend kicks off Thursday, July 14 with the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., open practice from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and then at approximately 9:30 the inaugural IWK 250 Tailgate Party with a concert by Signal Hill, Canada’s east coast acoustic party band. All ticket holders for race events at Riverside on July 15 or 16 can enjoy the concert free of charge.
On Friday, July 15 it’s the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The pits open at 2 p.m. for competitors in the NAPA Sportsman Series and Upper Clements Park Maritime League of Legends which, at 7 p.m. will contest the Highland Home Building Centres 100 and the Maritime Legends Challenge.
Saturday, July 16 it’s the event widely known as the most anticipated stock car race in Canada – the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour-sanctioned IWK 250 featuring two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton as he challenges the best regional racers. Pit gates open at 10 a.m., grandstand gates at Noon, and qualifying heat races to set the starting grid are at 4:30 p.m. At 5:30 the pre-race show starts with an autograph session and entertainment by ‘Sparrow’; the opening ceremonies are at 7 p.m. and the green flag for the 10th running of the IWK 250 is set for 7:30 p.m.
Advance reserved and general admission tickets for the IWK 250 weekend are now available. From now until June 30 the Early Bird Special Weekend Pass offers discounted rates and includes admission to the Signal Hill show Thursday night, the Highland Home Building Centres 100 on Friday and the IWK 250 on Saturday. Campsites for the IWK 250 weekend are in very limited supply; anyone planning to bring their RV who hasn’t already reserved their site should call the track office at 902-863-2410 for current availability and should note there is no overnight parking without a camping permit at Riverside International Speedway from July 13 to July 17 (no drive-ups).
Besides being a great race the IWK 250 helps raise awareness and funding for the IWK Health Centre with more than $350,000 donated over the past nine years, in addition to a surprise one million dollar donation made by the Chisholm family (owners of the track) during opening ceremonies for the IWK 250 in 2013.
Riverside International Speedway is recognized as a premier 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 visit www.riversidespeedway.ca.