For the 10th consecutive year fans of the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body will enjoy seeing the Cat Car for Kids, a super late model race car that will be driven by this year’s celebrity driver, NASCAR legend Mark Martin.

But before the race car ever hits the track on July 15 at Riverside International Speedway it, along with Martin, will visit the IWK Health Centre in Halifax where patients and their families will spend time with Martin and be invited to sign their names and write good luck messages on the car as co-sponsors with Atlantic Cat.

“The Atlantic Cat family is excited to partner with Riverside International Speedway for the 10th year in bringing this one of a kind experience to the IWK,” said Andy Hunt, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Atlantic Cat. “The IWK is a cornerstone facility in our Province and we are thrilled that Mark Martin and the Cat Car for Kids will be able to bring smiles to the children and excitement to the race track.”

A young patient at the IWK Health Care Centre scribes his name and good wishes on the Cat Car for Kids.

The Cat Car for Kids was conceived as a way to allow patients and their families 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. Having a driver in the car of Martin’s stature elevates the experience for those at the IWK; having the chance to visit the hospital is ranked by Martin as a deciding factor for his entry in the IWK 250.

“I am so excited to be a part of this great event that combines my passion of racing and love of helping children,” said Martin. “It’s an honour to drive the Cat Car for Kids and visit the IWK Health Center. This will be my first trip to Nova Scotia and I look forward to meeting all the great people there.”

Martin is a winner of 96 races in NASCAR’s top three series, a five-time IROC champion, and four-time ASA champion, retired from NASCAR three years ago; his return to racing this July at the IWK 250 is much anticipated. He is an inductee in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Having him wheeling the Cat Car for Kids will not only directly benefit those on hand for the race and at the IWK for his visit, but help raise awareness for the IWK Health Centre, the Atlantic regions premiere facility for children’s health care.

The annual IWK 250/Cat Car for Kids event at the IWK Health Centre is a popular one.

“The Cat Car for Kids visit has become a time-honoured tradition for the IWK,” said Keely Wallace, Relationship Manager, National & Regional Giving for the IWK Foundation. “It means so much to all those who are in attendance. We are thankful to the drivers who have participated, Atlantic Cat and Riverside International Speedway for providing this experience for 10 years now.”

Since 2008 drivers of the Cat Car for Kids have included Brad Keselowski – champion of the Monster Energy NASCAR 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, Matt Crafton – a two-time champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck 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.

The Cat Car for Kids is fielded out of the Nova Racing shop in Antigonish and Martin will be a teammate to defending IWK 250 champion and 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 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body is a three-day event starting Thursday, July 13 with the IWK 250 Tailgate Party. On Friday, July 14, it’s the NAPA Sportsman Series with a 100-lap championship points event, along with the Maritime League of Legends.

On Saturday, July 15 the cars and stars of IWK 250 are centre-stage, all vying for the checkered flag and accolades that come with being an IWK 250 champion. It is one of the most prestigious titles in Canadian stock car racing and the winner will see their name engraved on the magnificent  John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup, the perpetual award for the event paying homage to the late John Chisholm, founder and builder of Riverside International Speedway. And, if there’s not enough already on the line at the IWK 250, it is a championship points event for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour.

Besides being recognized as one of the most entertaining stock car races in Canada, the IWK 250 helps raise awareness and funding for the IWK Health Centre with more than $400,000 donated to the IWK Foundation over the past 10 years.

Advance tickets for the IWK 250 will be available starting the week of June 19; campsite renewals are underway and spaces not renewed will be available for new bookings in April (all sites must be reserved in advance, i.e. no drive-ups and no overnight parking without a permit between July 8 and 16.)

The 2017 season at Riverside gets underway June 17 with the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour in a 150-lap event along with the NAPA Sportsman Series in a 50-lap event. Advance tickets for the June show will be available the week of May 29 at

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

# # #