JAMES RIVER, NS (May 14, 2015) – Two-time and defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCWTS) Matt Crafton will return to Riverside International Speedway July 18 for the 2015 edition of the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body. Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra and the current NCWTS point leader, is excited for his return to the high-banked 1/3-mile oval for an event that has become widely recognized as the most entertaining stock car race in Canada.

“I am as eager to return to Riverside as I’ve been to any track, maybe even more,” said Crafton, the IWK 250 celebrity driver in 2014. “They have some of the best fans I’ve ever met. The facility and the atmosphere remind me of Bristol (Motor Speedway, Tennessee). I was blown away when I arrived at Riverside last year, especially with the hundreds of motor homes on site filled with campers there to enjoy the weekend. And on race day the stands were packed with fans in support of the event.”

iwk250(2015)Crafton was equally impressed with the competition.

“The level of competition was very stout,” continued Crafton who finished 10th after setting fast time in time trials in the 2014 IWK 250. “Those guys are tough with great cars. I hadn’t driven a late model in a long time and got a little off when the race first started. I didn’t think I was going to clean house but, with as tough as the local guys are,  it was impossible to regain that ground. I can’t wait to get back in it this year.”

Crafton will drive a car out of the Nova Racing stable as a teammate to Antigonish’s Donald Chisholm and New Glasgow’s George Koszkulics – both multi-time winners at Riverside. Crafton will also participate in the annual pre-race visit with patients at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

“That was very cool,” said Crafton of his visit to the hospital in 2014. “Having my own daughter I feel so badly for sick children and their families so if we can do anything to make a difference or put a smile on their faces we will absolutely be there.”

Matt Crafton is the only driver in the 30-year history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to win back-to-back championships. The Tulare, Calif., native began his racing career in go-karts, mini sprints and midgets before following his father, Danny Crafton, into late models where he won the 2000 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series championship. That success led him to ThorSport Racing where he became the full-time driver of the No. 88 truck in 2001. In a 15-year NCWTS career Crafton holds the record for the most consecutive starts of any active driver and has finished in the top 10 final standings in 10 of the last 11 seasons (including the two championships).

This year, to-date, he has won 50% of the NCWTS races entered with two wins in four races – catapulting him into the series point lead. Crafton made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut earlier this year in the Daytona 500 as substitute driver for an injured Kyle Busch.

The IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body is a two-day event starting July 17 with the Highland Building Centres 100 for the Napa Sportsman Series along with a championship points event for the Maritime League of Legends. On July 18 it’s the stars of the IWK 250 that are centre-stage as they vie for the checkered flag and one of the most prestigious titles in Canadian stock car racing.

The IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis is a championship points event for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour.

Advance tickets for the IWK 250 will be available starting the week of June 15; campsites are available now and going fast (all sites must be reserved in advance, i.e. no drive-ups and no overnight parking without a permit between July 15 and 19).

The 2015 season at Riverside gets underway June 13 with the Ron MacGillivray Chev Buick 150 for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour along with the Highland Building Centres 50 for the Napa Sportsman Series. Advance tickets for the Ron MacGillivray 150 will be available starting May 19 at www.riversidespeedway.ca.

Besides being a fantastic race the IWK 250 helps raise awareness and funding for the IWK Health Centre with more than $225,000 raised at the event and subsequently donated over the past eight years.

About Riverside International Speedway:

Riverside International Speedway, a 1/3-mile high banked asphalt oval, is located in James River, between New Glasgow and Antigonish, at exit 30 off Trans Canada Highway 104. Opened in 1969, the facility was totally rebuilt in 2006 to become a premiere motorsports site, comparable to the best short tracks in Canada and the U.S. To learn more about Riverside Int’l Speedway, please visit www.riversidespeedway.ca or call 902.863.2410.

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