Cassius Clark raced to the checkered flag Sunday afternoon (July 15) in the IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway in James River, Antigonish County.
“It is my third year running with Rollie (MacDonald, owner of King Racing in Pictou County). The first year we were running a strong second to Donald (Chisholm, the 2016 winner) and blew up, and then we had some mechanical issues last year,” Clark said after the victory, reflecting on his previous appearances in the feature race.
“It is nice to get this one done and it is a big win. I am pretty relieved now. It is pretty cool to [get to] the first three up here.”
The ‘first three’ the Farmington, Maine native referred to is becoming the only driver to win the three Maritime 250-lap races. Last season, Clark captured the Toromont Cat 250 and Speedway 660 Pro Stock 250.
“It’s awesome. Maybe we can win all three this year,” he said.
Describing the #13 he drove to victory as a “rocket ship,” Clark credited the entire King Racing team for the win.
Crowning a recipient of the John W. Chisholm Memorial Cup came one day later than scheduled. After rain rolled in Saturday night, the feature was postponed after 74 laps.
Dave O’Blenis finished second in a field that included drivers from six provinces and two states.
“We went back to what we knew; we reset everything,” the Boundary Creek, NB, native said, noting changes his team made after the heat races.
“I knew three laps into that first stint [Sunday] we were back to where we needed to be.”
Kenny Wallace, behind the wheel of the IWK Cat Car for Kids, weaved his way through the field to secure third spot.
“Grind – G-R-I-N-D – which means you run all 250 laps, and that’s what we [Nova Racing] did,” the NASCAR legend said.
“There were so many weather changes – we started out at night and then ended up in the heat. The car went through so many handling changes and we had to make adjustments and I had to change my driving style – it seemed – every five laps.
“So, once we ground them down and everybody got worn out – their handling went away – and then here we come,” Wallace added.
The St. Louis native credited Clark for an impressive victory.
“There was such great racing – such a tight little race track. If somebody gets underneath, you have got to give it to them. That’s the way you finish a race,” Wallace said.
The racing legend praised the people, when asked about his IWK 250 experience.
“I wore everybody out in the United States, because I have got a big mouth, I run it hard, so everyone there is tired of me. I come up here and everyone loves me,” Wallace said, with a laugh, noting his mother’s family roots in Alberta.
“Canada holds a special place in my heart, and everyone was so nice to me, which is something I appreciate so much.”
Competition in the IWK 250 started Saturday afternoon with five Atlantic Tiltload Heat Races, where 36 drivers vied for a spot in the 30-car feature. Greg Proude, Braden Langille, Jason Hathaway, Dylan Gosbee and Cole Butcher capture those dashes, while Kent Vincent won the Atlantic Tiltload B Feature.
Langille, a 16-year-old from Shubenacadie in his first season with Nova Racing, picked up the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Race and the King Freight Lines Future Winner award, with his seventh-place finish.
The Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour will resume this weekend with the Irving Oil Blending and Packaging 150 at Petty International Raceway.