To help kick off this year’s 10th-anniversary celebrations for the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body, the 2016 edition of the Cat Car for Kids will debut this Friday morning (June 2) in Sydney at the CTV Studio during a live broadcast of CTV Morning Live. The appearance marks the eighth consecutive year the Cat Car for Kids will be a highlight of the IWK 250, set for July 16 at Riverside International Speedway.

The race car, a super late model stock car called the Cat Car for Kids, will bear No. 16 and be driven in the IWK 250 by two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton, a native of Tulare, California who now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina.

The 2016 Cat Car for Kids will also be at Steve Lewis Auto Body Saturday and at Centre 200 for the IWK Telethon on Sunday (both in Sydney), along with the 2016 No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Show Car – a carbon copy of those Axalta-sponsored cars driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

The Cat Car for Kids is sponsored by Atlantic Cat and co-sponsored by patients of the IWK Health Centre who, along with their families, will be invited to sign their names and offer good luck messages to their driver when Crafton and the car visit the IWK Health Centre  as part of the pre-race activities for the IWK 250.

“We are thrilled to cheer on Matt Crafton again this year as he drives the Cat Car for Kids,” said Colleen Richards, Marketing Manager, Atlantic Cat. “This IWK fundraising event is important to Atlantic Cat and we look forward to participating each year. Making a difference in the lives of children and seeing the smiles on their faces when we visit the IWK with the Cat Car is what it’s all about.”

The Cat Car for Kids was conceived as a way to allow patients and their families to feel connected to one of the premier summer sporting events in Nova Scotia and with the car having a celebrity driver, also affords them the chance to meet a NASCAR star, a unique opportunity for any sports fan.

Since 2008 drivers of the Cat Car for Kids have included Crafton – current point leader and champion of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2013 and 2014, Brad Keselowski – champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2010, Ricky Craven – winner of the race with the closest finish in NASCAR history, Joey Logano – nine-time winner on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose, David Reutimann – all winners on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and Regan Smith – not only a winner on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series but the only celebrity driver to ever win the IWK 250.

Each of these drivers has visited with patients and their families at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax and over the years have helped bring some happiness to hundreds of patients and their families.

The Cat Car for Kids is fielded out of the Nova Racing shop in Antigonish and Crafton will be a teammate to 2015 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour champion Donald Chisholm (Antigonish) and multi-time race winner at Riverside, George Koszkulics (New Glasgow).

The IWK 250 Super Weekend kicks off Thursday, July 14 with the arrival of the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience (RWRE) where fans can sign up for packages for either Thursday or Friday allowing them to ride or drive around Riverside International Speedway in one of RWRE’s race cars. On Friday, July 15 it’s the Highland Home Building Centres 100 for the NAPA Sportsman Series and the Maritime Legends Challenge for the Upper Clements Park Maritime League of Legends. The weekend culminates Saturday, July 16 with the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body.

The 2016 season at Riverside International Speedway is set to go green June 11 with the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 150 for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour along with the Highland Building Centres 50 for the NAPA Sportsman Series. Advance reserved and general admission tickets are now available at www.riversidespeedwy.ca.

Tickets for the IWK 250 will go on sale the week of June 13. Campsites for the IWK 250 weekend are now available and going fast so please reserve your campsite ASAP so you are not disappointed (all sites must be reserved in advance, i.e. no drive ups and no overnight parking between July 13 and 17 without a permit). Please visit our IWK 250 event page to place your order for a campsite permit.

Besides being a great race the IWK 250 helps raise awareness and funding for the IWK Health Centre with more than $250,000 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.

Atlantic Cat is the authorized Caterpillar dealer for the Canadian Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. As part of the Hewitt Group of companies, Atlantic Cat sells, rents and services the complete line of Caterpillar products including more than 300 models of Heavy Equipment, Engines, Power Systems and Work Tools as well as Metso Crushing & Screening equipment. With seven branches across the three Maritime Provinces, Atlantic Cat prides itself on excellent customer service. Whether we’re servicing a single machine operator or a large mine owner, Atlantic Cat employees make every effort to deliver a high level of service and commitment to customer satisfaction. The Hewitt Group of companies is comprised of Hewitt Equipment Limited, the authorized Caterpillar dealer for the province of Quebec and Western Labrador, Hewitt Material Handling Inc., Hewitt Rentals Inc., Montreal Hydraulique Inc. and SITECH. The Hewitt Group employs more than 2,200 people in Quebec, Ontario, Western Labrador and the Maritime Provinces.

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.