"Winning the IWK 250 is our goal for 2017", said Hathaway, who retired from full-time NPS competition at the end of the 2016 season. "It's the biggest race of the year for us. We're going to run the June race as a tune-up for the 250."
Hathaway is no stranger to Riverside with 11 NPS starts and a win in the 2013 edition of the annual event. This year he will drive a new super late model race car out of his own shop; his team will be the same one that worked with him in the NASCAR series. He will have an opportunity to shake the car down in an event closer to home at Sunset Speedway on May 27, one of four Ontario races on his late model docket for 2017. Besides those and the two at Riverside he will also run two NPS races with his NASCAR race car, both at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
"Riverside is the nicest track in Canada, and I've run most of them," said Hathaway. "It brings racing to another level and is a highlight for anyone who has ever raced there, even more so if they win. I've always wanted to run the IWK 250 but it didn't work out with my schedule until now."
Racing with NASCAR legend and Hall of Fame inductee Mark Martin, the celebrity driver for this year's IWK 250, has not gone unnoticed - even for a race car driver of Hathaway's standing.
"It's definitely an added bonus," said Hathaway of the opportunity to compete against Martin. "It's a pretty cool deal."
Even though he has a win at Riverside and is ranked among the best race car drivers in Canada with his NASCAR experience, Hathaway is quick to concede his goal of winning the IWK will not be easy.
"We won't have as much experience in those cars as the others so we've got a learning curve ahead of us," said Hathaway. "Besides competing against Mark Martin, the Pro Stock Tour is stacked with talent."
In his 12-year career in the NPS Hathaway has nine wins, 33 top five finishes, and 68 top 10 finishes. He was the series Most Popular Driver in 2015 and 2016. One of only two drivers to start in all 121 NASCAR races in Canada. He started his racing career in karts then moved to street stock, CASCAR, and the NPS. Among his limited number of late model starts are two with the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour finishing 20th at Riverside in 2011 and 21st at Scotia Speedworld in 2014.
Advance tickets for the Ron MacGillivray Chev Buick GMC 150 will be available three weeks prior to the event. Advance tickets for the IWK 250 will be available starting the week of June 19.
Riverside International Speedway is recognized as a premier stock car 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.