902-863-2410

Antigonish, Nova Scotia

John Chisholm

John Chisholm (1946 – 2014)

Riverside International Speedway was built and opened in 1969 under the helm of Antigonish businessman, the late John Chisholm. The venue has consistently attracted big shows, big crowds, and big names – including NASCAR’s Benny Parsons, Kevin Lepage, Ricky Craven, Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose, David Reutimann, Regan Smith, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowksi, Austin Theriault, Matt Crafton, and in 2017 Mark Martin .

Riverside is the only stock car racing facility in Canada east of Quebec to host the NASCAR Pinty’s Series annually since its inception in 2007; and with its NASCAR affiliation reaching back into the early 80s when it hosted the NASCAR Busch East Series, Riverside’s NASCAR roots reach back further than any other active track in the country.

Besides NASCAR, we have hosted many other top touring series, including:

  • North Eastern Midget Association (1970)
  • NASCAR Canada series (1975)
  • NASCAR North (1981 & 1985)
  • MASCAR (1983 to 2000)
  • American Canadian Tour – ACT (1991 & 1992)
  • Maritime Pro Stock Tour (2001 to present)
  • Pro All Stars Series – PASS (2006 & 2007)
  • Atlantic Open Wheel – AOW (2006 to 2008)
  • Maritime League of Legends (2005 to present)
  • NASCAR Pinty’s Series (2006 to present)
  • Napa Sportsman Series (2006 to present)

We recognize the contributions of those that have helped build Maritime motorsports and especially those that have helped grow our facility to be one of the premier short tracks in North America.

We not only mark history; we make history.

John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup

On July 18, 2015, during opening ceremonies for the IWK 250, the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup was unveiled by members of the Chisholm family and pronounced the perpetual award for the IWK 250, the event at Riverside International Speedway that meant the most to Mr. Chisholm.

Members of the Chisholm family at the unveiling of the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup.

Members of the Chisholm family at the unveiling of the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup.

Created and named for the late John W. Chisholm (1946 to 2014), founder and builder of Riverside International Speedway, the magnificent custom-built perpetual trophy celebrates Mr. Chisholm’s accomplishments as a racer in raising the level of competition and as a promoter in attracting top drivers and series to the facility.

The new award was made in the same precise fashion with which Mr. Chisholm built Riverside International Speedway, first in 1969 and then rebuilt in 2006.

A handmade silver cup adorns the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup emblem and sits atop a plinth foundation encircled with words that symbolize excellence. The cup and plinth mounted on a large specially commissioned wood pedestal representative of and representing, champions.

The base is decorated with silver plates engraved to recognize former winners of the historical ‘250’, known as the Riverside 250 from 1977 to 2006, and since 2007 as the IWK 250. Several blank silver plates are in place awaiting the names of future winners, making a win in this event an even more prestigious accomplishment.

The John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup presentation will be made by a person from, or chosen by, the Chisholm family and the winner will also receive a John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup recognition award.

A number of former 250 winners were on hand for the unveiling of the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup, including Terry Clattenburg, John Flemming, Frank Fraser, Rollie MacDonald, Mike MacKenzie, Darren MacKinnon, Greg Sewart, Wayne Smith, and Kent Vincent.

IWK 250 champions with members of the Chisholm family at the unveiling of the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup

For more than four decades John W. Chisholm was among the most respected figures in Maritime motorsports. His unexpected death on July 4, 2014, came just two weeks before his favourite event, the IWK 250, which was dedicated to his memory.

His vision to build a premier stock car racing facility, together with his constant search for bettering technology in the race cars, and introducing top series and stars to racers and race fans alike, created a forum where legends are made.

In recognition of the unveiling of the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup, our good friends at Race Time Radio produced a goosebump-worthy introduction for our fans. You will want to listen to this and hear what winning the IWK 250 means to legends of our sport, legends of the IWK 250.

Remembering John Chisholm

The man who made Riverside International Speedway

 

John Chisholm (photo - Dalhousie University)

John Chisholm (photo – Dalhousie University)

John Chisholm was a young man with a dream when, in 1967, he travelled from his home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia to Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee in hopes of getting a meeting with NASCAR founder ‘big’ Bill France. You see, John Chisholm was an avid racer and race fan with aspirations of advancing his favourite sport at home.

He wanted to build a race track, but not just any track; he wanted to build the best track. He got that meeting and big Bill’s permission to copy Bristol, so build he did, in James River, Nova Scotia just a few miles from his hometown. The result was Riverside Speedway, opened May 18, 1969 and entertaining race fans ever since.

Its rebuild in 2006 under John’s watchful eye moved the facility into world-class status, and paved the way for the IWK 250 – widely known as the most entertaining racing event in Canada – and an event that has raised awareness and more than $225,000 for the IWK Health Care Centre (through 2014).

John Chisholm was a visionary and for that race fans in the Maritimes are most fortunate.

tribute_johnHe once said if had loved golf, he would have built a golf course. He was the ultimate race fan which is why Riverside is what it is; it was built, and rebuilt, by a fan. Everything – from every seat being a good one – to the amazing view of the infield pit – to the elevated backstretch – and, yes, even the washrooms, were planned by John to provide the ultimate fan experience.

His ingenuity and innovation were exemplified in what he did for Maritime motorsports by expanding technology with the Holman-Moody and Bobby Allison cars and by putting Maritime stock car racing on the map in bringing a long line of special series and stars to Riverside. With these efforts he made it possible for Maritime race fans to have enjoyed the past four and a half decades of racing entertainment second-to-none.

As a racer he set a torrid pace in the 70s by winning over and over again including one weekend in 1973 when he visited victory lane in five of six races that he ran at two different tracks, Riverside on Saturday and Atlantic Speedway (near Halifax) on Sunday.

As successful as he was in the racing world he was even more successful in the business world after co-founding Nova Construction with his father in 1963 and then growing it to become one of the largest and most successful of its type. He loved the work: the camaraderie of his crews, creating smooth, straight, well-built roads where there were none before. Most of all, he loved beating the pants off the competition – a passion for which he would never lose his appetite.

A memorial tree planted in John Chisholm's memory stands proudly at the entrance of Riverside International Speedway

A tree planted in John Chisholm’s memory stands at the entrance of Riverside International Speedway

In 1975, at age 29, John and his team started construction on what is still considered to be among the largest and most successful industrial projects ever completed in Nova Scotia – the Wreck Cove Hydroelectric Plant. For the next three decades, John lead Nova Construction’s expansion into ever larger and more successful industrial projects: the development of Porcupine Quarry, considered to be among North America’s finest sources of quality aggregate; the construction of the Cobequid Pass, and the establishment of Pioneer Coal, a reclamation mining company with operations throughout Cape Breton and Pictou County. He also played an instrumental role in the conception of Confederation Bridge.

Quiet and old-fashioned, John believed that actions spoke louder than words.

He supported his community as an employer of several hundred people at any given time, in bringing business and recognition to the highland heart of Nova Scotia with Riverside, and as a giver – with his time and expertise, and financially.

He served on the boards of many institutions including the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University, the Nova Scotia Road Builders Association, the Antigonish Seniors Care Van Society, the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition, and the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation.

In 2006 he made a one million dollar donation to the Coady Institute in memory of Marjorie Desmond who had worked as a nanny for his family for generations. In 2013, during pre-race ceremonies for the IWK 250 at Riverside, John handed another one million dollar cheque to the IWK Foundation, this time on behalf of his granddaughter Emily who had benefited from the facility’s care as a premature newborn.

In 2008 his numerous accomplishments in motorsports were formally acknowledged when he was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame.

In 2011 he received an honourary degree from St. Francis Xavier University, and in 2013 he received the same honour from Dalhousie University – both acknowledging his significant contributions to Nova Scotia’s economy.

memorial-decal-(final)John Chisholm passed away July 4, 2014; he was 68.

It was only two weeks before his beloved IWK 250.

The show went on, just as he would have wanted.

Just after the green flag flew his family and closest friends planted a red maple tree in his memory – it stands proudly at the main entrance to greet everyone who visits Riverside. Think of John Chisholm when you see it and remember the profound and lasting effect he had on this province and, for race fans, on our (and his) favourite sport.

The John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup was unveiled at the 2015 edition of the IWK 250 as a perpetual monument for that event and, on October 17, 2015, John Chisholm’s contributions to motorsports were further recognized with his posthumous induction to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.

The following documents are excerpts from the annual IWK 250 Souvenir Program – both paying tribute to John Chisholm…

 

Milestones & Memories

We opened in 1969, rebuilt in 2006, and continue to make memories for generations of race fans.

1969 ~ 1979
  • 1969 – built, opened, and operated by John Chisholm
  • 1973 to 1976 – Terry Sacks became the promoter
  • 1975 – NASCAR’s Benny Parsons became first celebrity driver, just a few months after his win in the Daytona 500
  • 1977 to 1978 – Jerry Lawrence and Ron King were the promoters
  • 1977 – hosted the first 250 in Eastern Canada, won by Ontario’s Billy Watson
1980 ~ 1989
  • 1981 June 27 & 28 – NASCAR North Twin 100s; first race won by Robbie Crouch, second by Mike Barry
  • 1984 to 1989 – Ernie McLean became the promoter
  • 1985 July 20 – NASCAR North 150, won by Robbie Crouch
  • 1989 – track sold to Eric Vandaalen
1990 ~ 1999
  • 1991 July 28 – ACT sanctioned annual 250 – won by Junior Hanley
  • 1992 July 26 – ACT sanctioned annual 250, won by Junior Hanley
  • 1993 to 1998 – Scott Fraser won six consecutive 250s
2000 ~ 2009
  • 2005 – track leased to Maritime Pro Stock Tour for two events – both won by Rollie MacDonald
  • 2005 December – track purchased by original owner, John Chisholm
  • 2006 March – bulldozers moved in to make way for a total rebuild
  • 2006 July 9 – track paving day
  • 2006 August 19 – grand reopening to capacity crowd, race won by Shawn Turple in SFR car
  • 2006 October 14 – Annual 250 revived as the Fall Foliage 250, won by Ben Rowe
  • 2007 July 22 – 250 rebranded ‘IWK 250’ – won by Maine racing legend Mike Rowe PASS North; celebrity drivers were Ricky Craven and Regan Smith
  • 2008 July 19 – celebrity drivers for the IWK 250 were Aric Almirola and Regan Smith; Regan Smith was the winner
  • 2008 August 16 – Scott Kelly Memorial 100, won by Craig Slaunwhite, driving for SFR
  • 2009 July 19 – IWK 250 celebrity drivers were David Reutimann and Regan Smith; race winner was Wayne Smith
 2010 ~ present
  • 2010 July 17 – Marcos Ambrose was the celebrity driver for the IWK 250; the race was won by Kent Vincent (the first 250 winner from Prince Edward Island)
  • 2011 July 23 – Marcos Ambrose made his second celebrity appearance in the IWK 250; the race winner was Darren MacKinnon
  • 2012 July 19 – Joey Logano was the IWK 250 celebrity driver; the race winner was John Flemming
  • 2013 May 24 – Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski announced as celebrity driver for the IWK 250
  • 2013 July 20 – Shawn Tucker wins the IWK 250 on a day that saw the Chisholm family make a surprise $1 million donation to the IWK Foundation
  • 2014 June 10 – 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton announced as 2014 IWK 250 celebrity driver
  • 2014 July 4 – The passing of John Chisholm, founder of Riverside International Speedway
  • 2014 July 19 – John Flemming becomes the first two-time winner of the IWK 250
  • 2014 August 16 – Antigonish’s Donald Chisholm scores his first-ever NASCAR win in front of hometown crowd
  • 2015 July 18 – The John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup is unveiled as part of opening ceremonies for the IWK 250
  • 2015 July 18 – Kent Vincent wins the IWK 250, joining John Flemming as the only two-time winners of the event in its modern era
  • 2015 September 12 – Antigonish’s Donald Chisholm wins the 2015 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour championship
  • 2015 October 17 – Riverside’s founder and builder, John Chisholm, is posthumously inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame
  • 2016 July 16 – Donald Chisholm, son of Riverside founder – the late John Chisholm, won the IWK 250

 

Rebuilding Riverside

On January 6, 2006 John Chisholm began a major renovation of what was Riverside Speedway; on August 19, 2006 the facility reopened as Riverside International Speedway. The renovation was as close to complete as everything except the starter’s stand was either replaced or rebuilt.

The 3/8-mile oval was repaved but Chisholm kept the notorious shape and banking he had put in place in 1969, scaled after the famous Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. He added concrete retaining walls, new and bigger grandstands, a new modern tower in which the top level includes VIP seating, a press box, race control, and announcer’s booth and the bottom level a canteen, snack bar, souvenir shop, and large modern washrooms.

The supporting infrastructure included new sound and lighting systems, a state-of-the-art electronic scoreboard, utilities, and the parking and campground areas were both improved and enlarged.

January 6, 2006 to August 19, 2006

 

Wall of Fame

One of the most special parts of having a pedigree like that of Riverside International Speedway is its heritage – and most especially realizing the depth  of its lineage and those that have contributed to it.

macisaac_thanksWe are fortunate to have an elite group of alumni whose accomplishments in and contributions to motorsports, nationally and in the Maritimes, have been formally acknowledged by their inductions to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame (CMHF) or the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame (MMHF), and in some cases to both of the hallowed halls.

These people have worked in various roles at Riverside and each has helped put us on the motorsports map; they are leaders in the industry; they are the cream of the crop in Canadian motorsports.

They are members of the Riverside International Speedway ‘Wall of Fame’.

Ladies and gentlemen, we salute you.

Bob Allen

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Role at Riverside: Racer

If you went to the races at Riverside Speedway in the 1970s odds were good you saw New Glasgow’s Bobby Allen visit Victory Lane – more than once. He is a multi-time winner at Riverside along with being the 1969 International 100 champion and 1972 late model point champion.

Bobby Allen got his start racing in 1966 at Fraser’s Mountain Raceway – finishing his rookie season as the top driver – and also winning the Most Popular Driver Award. He continued his winning ways at Fraser’s Mountain Raceway and also included Havre Boucher Speedway wins to his resume.

In 1971 Bobby Allen won the Maritime Stock Car Champion crown at Atlantic Speedway – just one year after being sidelined due to a back injury suffered in a wreck at Riverside. He went on to win many more races at Riverside and at Atlantic Speedway, and competed in Maine at Oxford Plains Speedway, Wiscasset Raceway, and Unity Raceway before retiring from racing in the 80s.

Bobby Allen was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame November 5, 2011.

Don Biederman

wof_biederman

Role at Riverside: Racer

Don Biederman is one of the most prolific racers to ever make a lap at Riverside. A native of Port Credit, Ontario, he visited Riverside mostly for special events. A three-time winner of the IWK 250 (1979, 1980, and 1981) – he obviously made those races count.

He is the first Canadian to ever run a full season on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (1967) and is one of only four Canadians to ever win the Oxford 250 (1977, along with Junior Hanley, Dave Whitlock, and Derek Lynch).

Two things were certain with Don Biederman: 1) He was a threat to win wherever he raced, and 2) Whether he won or not he would make the show interesting.

The Don Biederman Memorial has become one of the most prestigious annual races in Ontario; ironically Jeff Hanley, son of Junior Hanley – Biederman’s arch rival, has won the last three editions of the event.

Don Biederman was 59 when he passed away on May 31, 1999.

Don Biederman was inducted in the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Jean Paul Cabana

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Role at Riverside: Racer

In his native Quebec Jean-Paul Cabana is known as the “King of Stock Car Racing.” It’s no wonder why. In a racing career that spanned 40 years (1954-1994) he won more than 500 features at too many tracks to mention.

His visits to Riverside were during the NASCAR Busch North era in the late 70s and in the American Canadian Tour era of the early 90s. Highlight’s of Cabana’s career include a 1962 start in a Sportsman division (now Nationwide Series) race at Daytona Int’l Speedway where he drove an ex-Junior Johnson car to ninth place, he dominated north-eastern tracks and had mixed results in ventures further south to tracks in the Carolina’s and Virginia.

According to Cabana he never raced less than three times a week during his career, and usually ran five nights a week. He is credited for helping New England NASCAR standouts Kevin Lepage and Ricky Craven get their starts. After his retirement from the driver’s seat Cabana operated a driving school at Quebec’s Sanair Speedway and even did some announcing at Quebec tracks.

Jean-Paul Cabana was inducted in the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2001.

John Chisholm

wof_chisholm

Role at Riverside: Builder, Owner, Racer

John Chisholm had a dream – to build a superior racing facility in his hometown of Antigonish. Riverside Speedway opened 1969 and quickly became known as one of the premiere race tracks in the country.

In 1972 Chisholm climbed behind the wheel of his own race car and was a top modifed racer at Riverside driving cars built by Bobby Allison, Holman Moody, and Ed Howe. Until then most race cars driven in the Maritimes were home-built.

He ran the first Export “A” NASCAR race at Ontario’s Cayuga International Speedway. In 1975 he hosted the Export “A” NASCAR Series at Riverside – and brought in the reigning Daytona 500 winner, Benny Parsons, to drive his ’72 Chevelle. He raced until 1978.

In 1989 he sold Riverside, buying it back in 2005. He rebuilt the facility in 2006 and continues to own and operate it today.

John Chisholm was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame November 15, 2008.

He passed away in July 2014 and, in 2015, was posthumously inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Terry Clattenburg

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Terry Clattenburg raced at Riverside in the 70s, 80s, and 90s – before and during the MASCAR era.

Hailing from Dartmouth he started his racing career as a drag racer – winning the 1968 Drag City ¼-mile championship. In 1969 he made quick headlines after switching to stock cars by winning the Halifax Dartmouth International Speedway sportsman title.

1977 saw Clattenburg win the Honda Series Championship at the AMP Road Course. He became known as one of the top racers in the Maritimes and New England as he traveled to tracks far and wide. In 1983 he joined the new-founded MASCAR and went on to become a four-time champion (1986, 1989, 1990 & 1991).

He won the 1990 edition of the Riverside 250; he retired from driving race cars in the mid 90s making a surprise announcement during pre-race ceremonies at a Scotia Speedworld MASCAR event.

Terry Clattenburg was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Adelard Cormier

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Dieppe, New Brunswick’s Adelard Cormier visited Riverside Speedway for special events during the 1970s – a decade when he won an amazing 15 championships at various race tracks in his home province.

Beside titles he grabbed the checkered flag at five Eastern 75’s and two River Glade International’s – both prestigious races of the era.

During his racing career Adelard Cormier won more than 200 races.

Adelard Cormier was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Caleb Dunn

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Role at Riverside: Racer

“Dunn’s the name and racing’s the game”

Caleb Dunn, from Salisbury, New Brunswick, drove for more than 30 years amassing over 200 wins. Dunn competed in stock car races throughout the Maritimes, eastern U.S. as far south as Florida and in Ontario from 1951 through 1989.

He drove to win and win he did; trophy after trophy and honour after honour.

Dunn started racing on dirt tracks and adapted to asphalt with ease. Dunn’s accomplishments in, and contribution to, regional stock car racing were formally acknowledged in 2006 when he became a member of the inaugural class of the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame. He was also enshrined on the Moncton Wall of Fame in 2001.

Caleb Dunn passed away May 28, 2012; he was 84 – and still an avid fan of stock car racing.

Frank Fraser

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Frank Fraser is a two-time winner of the Riverside 250, taking the checkers in 1978 and 1987; the first win was during the open (non-sanctioned) era and the second win under the MASCAR sanction.

Fraser started racing in his native New Brunswick in 1962; little did they know at Airport Raceway near Saint John they were witnessing the birth of a Maritimes racing legend. Now 50 years later, the long-time resident of Shubenacadie, owns hundreds of wins at tracks in the Maritimes, Ontario, and the United States – including a 1979 win in a NASCAR Busch North race.

He has retired from full-time driving (twice) but still competes at select events including the River Glade International, in which he holds the record for the most wins at six.

He has been a driver, promoter, race director, car builder, team owner, and mentor – especially to sons Frank Jr. and Scott.

Fraser remains active in racing as a car builder and as Vice-President of the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in which he was inducted November 6, 2010 – just one day after being inducted in the Colchester Sports Heritage Hall Of Fame.

Scott Fraser

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Role at Riverside: Racer

To this day Scott Fraser holds the record at Riverside International Speedway for the most wins in the annual 250-lap event, now known as the IWK 250. Just as impressive as holding the most wins, at five, is the fact they were consecutive (1994 to 1998).

The Shubenacadie native started racing at just 16 driving street stocks – and scoring the most wins ever in a season at Onslow Speedway. He moved to open wheeled race cars winning the division title in his rookie year; and at the same time was rookie runner-up on the MASCAR circuit. He finished third and fourth in back-to-back ACT races in his series debut and won an ACT race in 1991.

In 1996 he won 12 of 15 MASCAR races en route to his first series championship; in 1998 he repeated the MASCAR title. In 1999 he won the IPSC championship and was named the Nova Scotia Male Athlete of the Year. In 2000 Scott stunned onlookers by qualifying second and leading several laps in his American Speed Association (ASA) debut. In 2002 and 2003 he scored wins at 12 of the biggest shows in the Maritimes and New England.

Scott Fraser passed away March 20, 2004 in a snowmobile accident; he was just 33.

Scott Fraser was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006, the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2008, and the Colchester Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dave Gorveatt

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Dave Gorveatt raced at Riverside Speedway during the MASCAR era – in which he was the series 1997 champion.

He started racing in 1986, honing his driving talents at Raceway Park not far from his home in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He moved to MASCAR in 1991 and captured his first series win in 1997 en route to the series title – which he captured by a mere three points over second-place Scott Kelly – still the closest point battle in the Maritime touring series history.

He also remains the first and only “Islander” to win a Maritime touring series title.

In 2001 Dave Gorveatt shifted his focus from Maritime race tracks to compete on the New England-based PASS SLM tour – where he won a feature in May 2002; he raced with PASS until his retirement from driving in 2006.

Dave Gorveatt was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010.

 

Debby Hallahan

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Debby Hallahan raced at Riverside  Speedway in 1984 with MASCAR. She had started racing at just 15 years of age – no wonder as it was in her blood since she had grown up at tracks watching both her parents drive stock cars.

She competed in the Pony Class at Onslow Speedway as the only female racer. In 1982 she attended Southards Racing School in Florida, where she learned under short-track superstar and then NASCAR driver Dick Trickle.

She won her first race at River Glade Speedway in New Brunswick. Besides Riverside, Onslow, and River Glade, Debby also competed at Atlantic Speedway.

Her father, Jim Hallahan, is also a member of Riverside International Speedway’s Wall of Fame.

Debby Hallahan became MASCAR’s first female racer in 1984; the same year she lost her life in a crash at Riverside Speedway. Her death made an immediate and continuing impact on safety standards in Maritime stock car racing.

Debby Hallahan was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Jim Hallahan

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Role at Riverside: Racer, Promoter

Jim Hallahan has been involved in racing for an amazing 63 years, starting in 1949 at just 20 years of age. He raced at Riverside Speedway during the 70s; during the 80s and 90s he promoted races through his role as President of MASCAR; since 2001 Jim Hallahan has been involved in management with the Maritime (Parts for Trucks) Pro Stock Tour.

Jim is originally from Ontario where he was a top racer winning innumerable races and championships. In the late 60s he was lured to the Maritimes as a celebrity driver for special events; and during one of those visits offered a job selling cars at Forbes Chev Olds, they also offered him a chance to become the driver of the ‘Hugger’ modified they owned. Hallahan moved east – a move that would make an indelible mark on the future of Maritime motorsports.

He continued to drive through the 70s and in the early 80s helped form MASCAR – the first late model/pro stock touring series in the Maritimes. Besides MASCAR and the Maritime Pro Stock Tour, Hallahan has also worked in management with Scotia Speedworld. To this day you will find Jim Hallahan working his driver relations role at Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour events.

Jim Hallahan’s contribution to Canadian motorsports history was formally acknowledged in 2003 when he was inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame, and in 2010 when he was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Junior Hanley

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Role at Riverside: Racer

If there is a name that is synonymous with Canadian motorsports throughout North America it is likely Junior Hanley. He raced at Riverside, his favourite track, during the 70s, 80s, and 90s driving modified, late model, and ACT cars.

A native of Port Mouton, Hanley moved to Ontario in the early 70s to pursue a career building and driving race cars. In the six short years since 1965 when started racing in the Maritimes he had won a modified championship as well as the River Glade International. He set up shop (more of a large garage) in Oakville, Ontario and produced some of the finest short track race cars in North America, evident by his elite clientele including Bill Elliott, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty, Dick Trickle and Darrell Waltrip.

While he built cars Monday to Friday, the weekends were spent driving his race cars, entering big paying special events all over North America. Notable wins include the Copper World Classic (1990, Phoenix AZ), the Oxford 250 (1993), and a two-time winner of the Riverside 250 (1990, 1991). He is a three-time World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing champion (1980, 1981, 1990 at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway), three-time ACT champion (1991, 1992, 1993), and the mid-west’s Iceman Series champion (2001). He won numerous ASA races in Canada and the mid-west, beating future NASCAR stars like Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin.

Junior Hanley was inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000, and to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Steve Henderson

Steve Henderson

Steve Henderson

Role at Riverside: Racer

Steve Henderson began his racing career in the driver seat at the age of 16, driving until 1999 when he became a car owner on the regional pro stock tour. He is a two-time car owner champion on the Maritime Pro Stock Tour with both trophies earned with Shawn Turple as his driver. Before Turple he fielded a car for Gordie Ryan. Both Turple and Ryan are multi-time winners on the Tour as Henderson’s driver. In recent years he has expanded his regional racing involvement to include owning and operating R & D Performancenter which services parts requirements for racers on and off the track.

Steve Henderson was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Junior Kelly

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Lewis Kelly Jr. raced at Riverside Speedway during the 70s, 80s, and 90s, before and during the MASCAR era.

He got his start in racing at just 16 years of age driving in the street stock division at the old Nine Mile River track. It wasn’t long before he moved to the sportsman ranks at Drag City, close to his home in Lower Sackville.

In 1979 he won the sportsman championship at Atlantic Speedway before moving to the modified division, and then to MASCAR when it was formed in 1983. He is the 1985 MASCAR champion. He continued racing in MASCAR until the end of the 1993 season when he retired to help his son, Scott, in his MASCAR career.

He fielded a car for Scott until his passing in 1999. Since then he has remained involved in racing through sponsorship and as a familiar face around the pit area – often lending a helping hand or expert advice, or both.

Junior Kelly’s contribution to Maritime motorsports was formally acknowledged in 2008 when he was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Junior Kelly passed away March 25, 2016; he was 68.

Scott Kelly

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Role at Riverside: Racer

One of Scott Kelly’s greatest triumphs came at Riverside Speedway – in 1998 when he won a MASCAR race while fighting his battle with cancer.

He had started racing just 10 years earlier and quickly moved through the street stock and open wheel ranks to become the MASCAR rookie of the year in 1994. In 1995 he was second in MASCAR points, and in 1996 he finished third in MASCAR points and third in the prestigious Oxford 250.

In 1997 he won his first two races with the series (at Sydney’s Island Speedway and at Centre for Speed in New Brunswick); that year he was second in MASCAR points, runner-up by a slim three points, the closest point battle in Maritime pro stock touring series history.

Scott Kelly continued to race in 1998 after being diagnosed with cancer; he passed away in 1999 at just 28 years of age.

On August 16, 2008 Riverside International Speedway hosted the Scott Kelly Memorial sponsored by Kelly’s loyal sponsor, Parts for Trucks. A special tribute car was entered by multi-time series champion Wayne Smith with its hood autographed by all the drivers before being presented to Kelly’s parents as part of the Victory Lane celebration.

Scott Kelly was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in November 2008.

Jerry Lawrence

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Role at Riverside: Announcer, Promoter

No matter who is in the booth Jerry Lawrence is, and always has been, the voice of Riverside International Speedway; he was there when the track opened in 1969 and you will still sometimes hear his booming voice over the airwaves at the track .

In the late 70s he co-promoted Riverside along with Ron King. He and King are the founders of the annual “250” at Riverside, hosting the first edition in 1977.

He got hooked on racing as a teenager at Sackville Downs Speedway. For five decades he has entertained race fans behind the microphone at numerous tracks in the Maritimes; besides Riverside including Seabreeze Raceway, Drag City, Atlantic Speedway, Onslow Speedway, Scotia Speedworld, Moosehead Speedway, Centre for Speed, and with the MASCAR tour.

He founded the Atlantic Karters Association and has announced at go-kart races for several decades.

Jerry Lawrence was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Ledwidge Family

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Role at Riverside: Promoter

Ernie Ledwidge got his start in racing at Riverside Speedway as one of the scorers for the inaugural Riverside 250 in 1977.

Ernie continued as scorer at Riverside through 1979 then moved to the same role at Onslow Speedway. In 1983 Ernie became race director at Onslow and so his wife, Cathy, took over the scoring duties.

From 1984 to 1987 they worked at Riverside in similar roles, and included son Mike in scoring the races. In 1988 the trio moved their expertise to Scotia Speedworld where they expanded their roles to cover just about every aspect of race-day control. In 1994 they helped with the planning, construction, and opening New Brunswick’s Speedway 660.

In 1996 they returned to Scotia Speedworld running the competition operations of the facility, and in 2001, when the Maritime Pro Stock Tour was formed, took on the same role with it.

Cathy Ledwidge passed away in 2007; Mike and Ernie remained actively involved in racing until the end of the 2008 season.

The Ledwidge family was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Scott Livingston

Scott Livingston

Scott Livingston

Role at Riverside: Racer

Scott Livingston’s interest in all things mechanical started at a very early age. He began racing in motocross competition, he has raced on ice, and he has raced stock cars. At just 17 years of age he opened ‘Scott’s Cycle’. He is a certified motorcycle mechanic and a registered instructor in the Canada Safety Council’s Motorcycle Training Program. In the 1980s he became active in the family welding shop. He builds cars for himself and for others. He raced with MASCAR and the Maritime Pro Stock Tour. He retired from driving in 2010 after a racing injury but continues to influence employees and former pit crew members, tow that have gone on to become team members on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He serves as the Prince Edward Island Vice President for the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame. Scott Livingston was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Rollie MacDonald

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Role at Riverside: Racer, Car Owner

Rollie MacDonald entered the first event held at Riverside Speedway when it opened in 1969; to this day it remains his favourite track. He has likely completed more laps at Riverside than any other driver.

From nearby Pictou, Rollie started racing on the dirt in 1965 at Mountain Raceway. His career grew to become one of the most diverse in the Maritimes, travelling to tracks all over North America as both a driver and a car owner. His longest winning streak – 22 in a row at Atlantic Speedway in 1977 – may very well be a Maritime record; ironically what was one of the high spots of his career ended with one of its lows when the streak ended in one of the worst wrecks in Maritime motorsports history.

In 1984 he won the MASCAR championship; in 1986 he won Quebec’s QUASCAR title (and also finished third in MASCAR). In 1994 he ran the NASCAR Busch North Series.

In 1998 he took on the car owner role and joined forces with local hotshoe Scott Fraser. In 1999 they won two races and finished third in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing; in 2000 they made their ASA debut with an outside pole and eighth-place finish. They ran several more ASA races in 2000 and in 2001 scored four top 10s in 13 starts.

MacDonald returned to the driver’s seat after Fraser’s death in 2004, and in 2005 won the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour title.

Rollie MacDonald was inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005, and to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Michael MacKenzie

Role at Riverside: Racer

Mike-MacKen(180)Michael ‘Mike’ MacKenzie became involved in racing in 1973. From 1980 to 1983 he worked with Greg Sewart as a crew member during which time Sewart had many wins and a championship. In 1983 Mike started racing in the MASCAR Tour and was a top contender. He finished second in the points championship in 1987 and 1990. In 1991 and ’92 Mike finished third in the Moosehead Grand Prix through the streets of Halifax. In 1999 and 2000 Mike could be found racing in the Maritime MASCAR Tour and the International Pro Stock Challenge (IPSC). From 2004 to 2008 he had 2 top 5 finishes in the Newfoundland Targa races running against some of the top teams from around the world. In 2007 Mike was NASCAR licensed and ran in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Busch race at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, This was the first NASCAR Busch Series race held on a Canadian track and Mike was one of eight Canadian entries. He has built race cars for several NASCAR, pro-stock and sportsman drivers. Another of his passions is restoring antique Corvettes (for other people). Mike retired from driving stock cars in 2014. He was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Ernie & Winona McLean

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Role at Riverside: Promoter

Ernie and Winona McLean were Riverside Speedway’s promoter from 1984 to 1989, while at the same time continuing to own and operate River Glade Speedway in New Brunswick which they had opened in 1964. They had already been married three years when Ernie attended his first stock car race at Ontario’s Pinecrest Speedway in 1957. Ernie got “the bug”, bought his first race car (from fellow ‘Wall of Fame’ alumni Jim Hallahan), and started racing.

Before long they moved back to New Brunswick and settled in River Glade. There was no stock car racing in the area so Ernie decided to build a track; it was dirt when it opened in 1964. By 1965 it was paved, with grandstands and outbuildings added; later that year to celebrate River Glade’s first anniversary, they staged the inaugural River Glade International. Before long it was attracting some of the biggest names in Canadian motorsports.

The McLean’s owned and operated River Glade Speedway for 30 years, hosting many a series and guest driver – including Dale Earnhardt Sr. They also helped operate Miramichi Speedway, Brookside Speedway, and Danny’s Speedway.

In 2004 the McLean’s took the helm of the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame and continue to be the driving force behind it.

Ernie McLean was named Promoter of the Year in 1984; he was inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000; and Ernie and Winona McLean were inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Earl Ross

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Earl Ross raced at Riverside Speedway in 1977, making the stop as part of an eastern swing from his Ontario home-base; his other stop was at River Glade Speedway in New Brunswick – where he added his name to the winner’s list of the facilities annual International.

He started his racing career in the late 60s driving hobby cars and then late models at Delaware Speedway. In 1971 he went to Daytona International Speedway as a spectator and quickly decided he had to find a way to race on the superspeedway.

He became the first Canadian to start the Daytona 500 in 1973, fortunate to have NASCAR legend Donnie Allison as his mentor. On September 29, 1974 he beat Buddy Baker to the finish line to win the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway, becoming the only Canadian – and Maritimer – to ever win in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. He was also NASCAR’s top rookie that year, another national feat yet to be equaled. In 26 races that year he had one win, five top fives, and 10 top 10s.

Earl Ross continued to race through the 90s, competing a tracks in Ontario, on the ASA circuit, and with CASCAR.

He was inducted to the Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame in 2000, the P.E.I. Sports Hall Of Fame in 2008, and the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Greg Sewart

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Greg Sewart raced and won at Riverside International Speedway during the 1980s and 1990s. He retired from racing in 2002 after a broken back cut short a 26-year career.

He started racing 1976 at Atlantic Speedway winning the sportsman rookie title and points championship that year, repeating as points champion in 1977.

In 1982 he was the late model champion at Onslow Speedway and in 1983 he joined MASCAR, winning the title in his rookie year. He repeated as the MASCAR champion four more times (1987, 1992, 1993, and 1995) to become the series only five-time champion.

Sewart also claimed some of the biggest race trophies the region had to offer. He is a three-time Moosehead Grand Prix Late Model division winner (1991, 1992, and 1994), a three-time winner of the River Glade International (1983, 1984, 1987), and a two-time winner of the IWK 250 (1986 and 1993), and claimed the checkered flag in the only 300-lap pro stock feature ever held at Scotia Speedworld.

One of the biggest thrills of Sewart’s racing career came in a second-place finish at the 1994 edition of the Oxford 250 in Maine; he remains the top finishing Maritime racer (ever) in the hallowed event.

Greg Sewart was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2010 and Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in  2012.

Bill Sommerville

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Hailing from Saint John, New Brunswick, Bill Sommerville made select trips to Riverside during the 80s and 90s with his sportsman car. Bill’s first race car was a $75 flathead Ford – that was 1966, and even now, in 2014, he still competes on a limited basis. In the 48 years in between he has raced at tracks all over the Maritimes and into Maine. He is a two-time Petty Raceway track champion, a multi-time Hammond River track champion, and also claimed the pro stock division title at Speedway 660. His best season ever came in the early 90s when he won 13 feature races between Hammond River Raceway and Speedway Miramichi. His favourite racing memory came not long after that when he won a ‘Heroes of the Sport’ pro stock event at Speedway 660, with his son Lonnie finishing second, and his other son Larry, managing the pits for both teams.

William ‘Bill’ Sommerville was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame November 15, 2014.

Art Steeves

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Role at Riverside: Racer, Starter

From nearby Pictou County, Art Steeves raced at Riverside in the 80s and since then has flagged virtually all of the MASCAR and Maritime Pro Stock Tour events held at Riverside. Art has had two separate careers in stock car racing, the first nearly ending after an accident in 1970 resulted in a broken neck. After eight years he made his return to the driver’s seat and competed until the late 80s when he retired from driving and started his career as a flagman, since becoming one of the most recognizable in the industry. His style makes him part of the show and has taken him to tracks across the Maritimes and into New England. He has officiated all of the biggest races on the eastern seaboard at one time or another, including the Oxford 250, the IWK 250, the Atlantic Cat 250, and the Speedway 660 250.

William ‘Art’ Steeves was inducted in the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame November 15, 2014.

Alan Vincent

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Role at Riverside: Racer

Alan Vincent is a member of the Prince Edward Island fraternity in Riverside’s Wall of Fame; he raced at Riverside Speedway during the 80s and 90s in MASCAR events.

Throughout much of his 33-year racing career he remained loyal to Chrysler products, it was only in his first few years (1966-1968) that he drove a Ford.

In the early 70s, when it looked like stock car racing was doomed on Prince Edward Island, he convinced his local Kinsmen club to rent Freetown Speedway; Vincent worked day and night to help get the track in shape – and help save racing on the Island.

Most weekends he ran double-headers: Saturday at River Glade in New Brunswick, and Sunday’s closer to home on the Island. During that time he won Most Sportsmanlike Driver Awards four times, as well as a Fan Favourite Award, and Modified championships. In 1992 he joined the MASCAR circuit driving a Dodge Daytona; he raced with MASCAR until his retirement in 1999.

Alan remains a familiar site at Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour events, perhaps the biggest fan of our 2010 IWK 250 winner Kent Vincent, Alan’s son.

Alan Vincent was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Bob Yuille

Bob Yuille (Ken MacIsaac photo)

Bob Yuille (Ken MacIsaac photo)

Role at Riverside: Racer

Bob (Bobby) Yuille began racing drag cars and soon moved to stock cars where he competed at tracks throughout the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, and in New England. In 1983, he was the inaugural feature winner on the MASCAR Tour. In 1991 he competed in a NASCAR Busch North Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Besides MASCAR and Busch North, his stock car resume includes super late model, ACT and super modified divisions. He took a break from racing between 1995 and 2006 to grow his auto repair shop ‘Yuille Auto Works’. In 2007 he finished second in the Newfoundland Targa Road Race, and in 2010 he made a return appearance in that event where his was the only penalty-free team after three days of racing.

Bob Yuille was inducted to the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2013.