Locals ready for IWK 250 Super Race Weekend

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Racers remember late track owner John Chisholm

The IWK 250 Super Race Weekend will begin Friday night with races in the sportsman and legend classes followed by pro-stock action Saturday that will include local favourites George Koszulics and Rollie MacDonald’s car driven by the 2011 Napa Sportman Series champion Colby Smith.

 

Andrew Hicken, back, crew chief for the #13 King Freight Lines Chevorlet, and veteran race car driver and owner Rollie MacDonald, front, are ready to take part in the IWK 250 this weekend

The IWK 250 Super Race Weekend will begin Friday night with races in the sportsman and legend classes followed by pro-stock action Saturday that will include local favourites George Koszulics and Rollie MacDonald’s car driven by the 2011 Napa Sportman Series champion Colby Smith.

“This is the biggest race of the year for us. This is like our Daytona 500,” said Koszulics Thursday as he worked to prepare three cars for the race which included his own #88 Ford, the #89 Ford driven by Antigonish native Donald Chisholm and a third for special guest, Matt Crafton, who is the defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion.

Koszulics said up to 30 pro-stock are expected to compete in the IWK 250 that is expected to begin Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with time trials while heat racing will start at 4:30 p.m.

He has run a limited schedule this season with two top ten finishes, but he is feeling confident about this weekend’s race after getting in some good test times earlier in the week.

“You’ve got to finish first, but I tested with some of the quickest track times I ever had at Antigonish,” he said. “All three of our cars worked decent.”

Koszulics, like many other racers, will be taking part in the IWK 250 Super Weekend with heavy hearts as they remember track owner and motorsport supporter John Chisholm who passed way earlier this month.

He said Chisholm will be remembered during the race for his dedication to the sport and as his car owner, Koszulics said he couldn’t have asked for a better boss.

“John was perfect,” he said, adding that he has been racing for the Chisholm family for the past seven years. “He never got excited when we wrecked or blew up. He was an excellent car owner.”

MacDonald echoed Koszulics’ words by saying that Chisholm did the sport a huge favour by taking over ownership of Riverside Speedway.

“Without John we wouldn’t have the best short tracks in North Amercia or the caliber of drivers he brings to this race which included a Sprint Cup champion last year,” he said. “John was a huge supporter of racing and he will be missed.”

Besides being a big race, the IWK 250 helps raise awareness and funding for the IWK Health Centre with more than $190,000 donated over the past seven years, in addition to a surprise one million dollar donation made by Chisholm and his family during the opening ceremonies for the 2013 IWK 250.

MacDonald said although he won’t behind the wheel of the #13 Chevrolet for this race, he has confidence in Smith that he will be in the top five when the checkered flag waves.

“We’ve got a good car and Colby looks good in practice,” he said. “He has raced four races for us so far and he never put a mark on the car. “

Smith will be racing his own sportsman car in Friday night’s Napa Sportsman Series that begins at 7 p.m.

Both MacDonald and Koszulics said having Crafton involved in the IWK 250 is good not only for the fans, but racers.

“You always learn something from them (NASCAR drivers),” said Koszulics. “We’ve had a number of guys in over the years and they have all been good to work with.”

Crafton becomes the eighth NASCAR celebrity driver to enter the IWK 250 in the past eight years and on only one occasion have any of his peers beat the locals to win – that was Regan Smith in 2008. As a matter of fact, the average finish for the NASCAR guys has been seventh, a number Crafton will be looking to make better – while the regional racers will be looking to make it worse.

Four Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour (PST) champions are on the expected entry list with a combined 15 titles between them (Wayne Smith – Timberlea, six-time champ; John Flemming – Halifax, four-time champ; Shawn Tucker – Fredericton NB, three-time champ; and Shawn Turple – Enfield, two-time champ).

And all of the past five IWK 250 champions are also on the entry list (Tucker, 2013; Flemming, 2012; Darren MacKinnon – Charlottetown PE, 2011; Kent Vincent – Crapaud PE, 2010; and Smith, 2009.)

General admission single day tickets (only, no reserved or weekend passes) will be available at the track on race day (July 18 & 19).  Ticket information and schedules can be found at www.riversidespeedway.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizations: NASCAR, IWK 250 Super Race Weekend, Napa Sportman Series IWK Health Centre Napa Sportsman Series

Geographic location: Antigonish, North Amercia, Fredericton Charlottetown

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