Thursday saw a jam-packed kick off of the IWK 250 weekend at Riverside International Speedway including the annual visit to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, open practice, and the inaugural IWK 250 Tailgate Party featuring Signal Hill.


Matt Crafton with a group of children at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. Matt Crafton with a group of children at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton and reigning Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour champion Donald Chisholm visited with patients and their families at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax on Thursday afternoon. The event included remarks by IWK Foundation VP Development & Community Relations, Laura Gilham, a ‘Top 10 Reasons the IWK 250 Rocks’ list read by patients, a presentation of thanks to race sponsors Steve & Marie Lewis, and Chisholm – for Riverside International Speedway. The children and their families signed the Cat Car for Kids that Crafton will drive in the race as co-sponsors with Atlantic Cat, which also provided goody bags for the kids. This was the 10th annual visit to the hospital in conjunction with the IWK 250 which has raised awareness and more than $350,000 for the IWK Foundation since 2007.


a href=””>The scoring tower after final practice showing Matt Crafton's No 16 at the top of the board. The scoring tower after final practice showing Matt Crafton’s No 16 at the top of the board.

How serious is Matt Crafton about winning the IWK 250 in his third straight attempt? Well, he brought his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief Junior Joiner with him this year. Joiner was Crafton’s crew chief in both seasons that Crafton won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship as well as working with Crafton years ago when they raced the late model type stock cars they will run in the IWK 250. Crafton was fastest on the track in the final practice session of the day, trailing only Donald Chisholm in the fast times for the entire practice session which saw 57 cars from three divisions on hand to prepare for Friday and Saturday’s races.


Signal Hill at Riverside

The inaugural IWK 250 Tailgate Party saw Signal Hill, Canada’s top east coast acoustic party band, perform a three-hour concert for several thousand race fans who gained exclusive access to the concert with their weekend race ticket.


The Highland Home Building Centre 100 for the NAPA Sportsman Series and the Maritime Legends Challenge for the Upper Clements Park Maritime Legends Tour are on deck Friday night. A record number of cars are expected for both races. The box office/grandstand open at 4 p.m. Racing starts at 7 p.m.


The 10th edition of the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body is Saturday. Thirty-seven teams are expected to attempt to qualify for a 30-car field in a race that boasts a $90,000 purse with $10,000 guaranteed to the winner, along with all the accolades that accompany being and IWK 250 champion. Five Canadian provinces and three states in the U.S. are represented on the stellar expected entry list (online at, IWK 250 page, entries tab).

Reserved seats for the IWK 250 are available until Noon Friday by calling 902-863-2410. General admission seating will be available at the track box office Friday starting at 4 p.m. and Saturday starting at Noon. Qualifying heat races start to set the starting grid for the IWK 250 start Saturday at 4:30 p.m. followed by a pre-race show autograph session and entertainment at 5:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies are at 7 p.m. and the green flag for the IWK 250 is at 7:30 p.m.


With a record crowd expected to attend the IWK 250 fans who want to avoid lineups (in traffic and at the box office) are encouraged to take advantage of advance ticket sales, and to arrive early. Plenty of good seats remain and can be purchased by visiting or the track office at 23 James Street in Antigonish through Noon Friday.


The camping area is sold out with more than 900 RVs expected. All overnight parking on Riverside International Speedway property from July 16 until the day after the IWK 250 requires a permit (RVs or otherwise).

Riverside International Speedway is recognized as a premiere 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


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