JAMES RIVER, NS (August 13, 2013) – The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series rolls into Riverside International Speedway this Saturday for the Wilson Equipment 300 Supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief. The event is the only NASCAR-sanctioned race in Canada east of Quebec and there are plenty of storylines to follow, including…
Hathaway on a Roll
Jason Hathaway is out of the fringe and into the mix.
Always on the edge of contention, but never quite in the thick of it would be the best way to describe Hathaway until this year. With four races remaining this season the Dutton, Ont., driver already has established a career-high in top-five finishes with five. However, according to Hathaway not that much is different for the No. 3 Snap-on Tools/Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge team.
“We haven’t made wholesale changes or anything,” said Hathaway. “The biggest difference is that I’ve been more involved this year than ever before. Circumstances have worked out for me to be more hands on. I think that has provided some stability and camaraderie with myself and the team.”
Hathaway has been with Ed Hakonson Racing since the start of the Canadian Tire Series in 2007. Hathaway, along with Ron Beauchamp Jr., D.J. Kennington and Scott Steckly, are the only four drivers to start all 83 races in series history.
Hathaway picked up a win in the 2008 season finale at Kawartha Speedway near Peterborough, Ont. Despite not reaching Victory Lane since, there is a sense around the team that a return trip is in the making.
“We could have easily won either or both of the races out west (Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, B.C., and Auto Clearing Motor Speedway in Saskatoon, Sask.) and at St. Eustache (Que.) for that matter. Not to take anything away from (Steckly), but I’m not sure that all of those races were his to win.”
Steckly rebounded from a pair of sub-par finishes to start the season to win three consecutive races to springboard into the top spot in the point standings.
“Everybody has bad luck in this sport and we’ve had ours, but we could easily be leading the points right now,” he said. “In fact, I kind of expected to, but that hasn’t worked out yet.”
The operative word in that statement might be ‘yet.’ Like his rivals Kennington and Steckly, Hathaway runs well on both road courses and ovals as evidenced by a third-place finish on Aug. 11 at Trois-Rivieres, Que., behind the likes of Andrew Ranger and Jacques Villeneuve.
Just 16 points separate the top four drivers in the point standings with Hathaway holding down the third spot – 14 points behind Steckly at the top of the heap.
Nevertheless, that’s in the rear view mirror now and a date at Antigonish, Nova Scotia’s Riverside International Speedway is dead ahead. Hathaway, who has four top 10s in six Nova Scotia starts, is no different than any driver that has ever raced there.
“I love it,” Hathaway said of the third-mile scale version of the legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. “It’s just a fun track to race. The banking makes all of the difference.”
The banking is the difference for the track, but it’s the higher level of competition that’s the difference for the Hathaway camp in 2013.
Race: Wilson Equipment 300 Supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief
Place: Riverside International Speedway, Antigonish, N.S.
Date: Saturday, Aug. 17
Time: 8 p.m. AT
TV Schedule: TSN, Sun., Aug. 25, 1 p.m. ET; RDS2, Fri., Sept. 13, 7 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .333-mile high-banked oval
2012 Winner: D.J. Kennington
2012 Pole Sitter: J.R. Fitzpatrick
Event Schedule: NASCAR practice 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Qualifying 4 p.m.; On-Track Autograph Session 6:30 p.m.; Driver Introductions 7:30 p.m. AT; Sportsman heat races at 2:30 p.m., 50-lap feature at 5 p.m.
Event Twitter Hashtag: #WilsonEquipment300
The Race: This is the ninth event of the 2013 season for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 and the sixth of eight oval-track events on the schedule. This is the series’ seventh visit to the Antigonish track.
The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 300 laps covering 99.99 miles.
The Track: Riverside Speedway originally opened in 1969 and was modeled after the legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In 2005, the track was completely demolished and rebuilt including a new racing surface, concrete walls, lighting, grandstands and control tower. Like its U.S. counterpart in eastern Tennessee, Riverside features high-banked turns. Here, the turns are banked 14 degrees. The frontstretch is 440 feet long with banking of six degrees while the backstretch is also 440 feet but with five-degree banking.
The Records: The one-lap qualifying record for the Canadian Tire Series is 14.484 seconds (82.767 mph), set by Scott Steckly on Sept. 18, 2010. The 300-lap race record is held by Andrew Ranger at 1 hour, 30 minutes, 40 seconds, set on Sept. 20, 2009 for an average speed of 66.110 mph.
ANTIGONISH RACE NOTES
Start Of A String?: Already with two Riverside International Speedway wins under his belt, D.J. Kennington could build upon his Trois-Rivieres win. Kennington won a series record five straight races en route to his second series championship a year ago.
Good Luck Charm: A trend has emerged in the last four Riverside races. Andrew Ranger claimed the win in 2009 while Kennington took the checkered flag in 2010 followed by Scott Steckly in 2011. Last season Kennington earned his second win in Nova Scotia. The common thread is that all four of those drivers went on to claim the series title.
New Date: After six seasons of September dates a couple of which were impacted by inclement weather, the Riverside date moves to August this year.
Supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief: Event sponsor Wilson Equipment is under new ownership this year and new president Jim Wilson looks to expand the event to create visibility and assistance for the emergency preparedness division of Canadian Red Cross Disaster Relief Services. Red Cross volunteers will be on hand at the event providing information on their services, as well as how fans can offer support or get involved.
Close Quarters: Steckly brings a four-point edge over Kennington in the championship point standings, but Steckly’s gaze must look beyond that as Jason Hathaway is just 14 points away and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin lurks at just 16 tallies off the pace.
Round And Round: At Riverside, the Canadian Tire Series will race 300 laps for the win for the second of three times this season. The first 300-lap affair was at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, B.C., in July and the last will be in September at Barrie (Ont.) Speedway.
Defending Home Turf: Antigonish’s Donald Chisholm will be the lone local racer in the field; with starts in all six previous Riverside NASCAR races since 2007. Chisholm hopes to better his event-best third place finish.
Meet & Greet: Fans will have the chance to meet the stars and see the cars that will compete in the Wilson Equipment 300 Supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief during an on-track autograph session scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Opening Act: The Napa Sportsman Series will see round three of four on its 2013 season with the Highland Home Building Centre 50. Sportsman heat races start at 2:30 p.m. and the feature is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Tickets: Discounted advance tickets are available up to and including Friday August 16 by visiting our Wilson Equipment 300 Supporting Red Cross Disaster Relief 300 event page or by visiting our track office at the Antigonish Mall or by calling 902.863.2410. Advance tickets are available for reserved or general admission seating – there are no reserved tickets available at the track on race day. The track box office opens Saturday August 17 at Noon.
Wilson Equipment is an authorized dealer for Komatsu, Takeuchi, and Dynapac. Since 1955, with their incredible team of proud Nova Scotians, they have established a reputation for providing top notch service and selling quality equipment to road builders, foresters, mining companies and other industries. They have a new leader with the same commitment to service. Visit them at 66 Atlantic Central Drive in Truro, NS, online at www.wilsonequip.ns.ca, or call 902.895.1611.
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 click www.riversidespeedway.ca.