IRVING OIL 250 PROMISES TO DRAW BIG NAMES TO THE NORTH
Major New Brunswick International Speedway Event Set For This Weekend
Up in Canada, Geary may be but a small community on the New Brunswick map for most of the year, but for the past five years, it has become a hub of activity on Labour Day for one reason – Speedweekend. The region’s stock car fans descend on New Brunswick International Speedway from September 1st-4th to enjoy a weekend festival of stock car racing, highlighted by the Irving Oil 250. With less than a week to the big event, every indication is that the event will grow once again.
stocks of the Eastern Canada and the New England including Busch East veteran Brad Leighton and NASCAR’s Johnny Benson. It is billed as the Largest Racing Event in Atlantic Canada with a purse OVER $60,000 with a possible winner’s cheque of $28,500. This includes a guaranteed $15,000 to the event winner. Initial estimates have the expected car in the area of 35-40 pro stocks from the Maritimes and Maine.
“I love going up there,” said 2005 Irving Oil 250 winner Scott Chubbuck. “Those Canadian fans are great to race for. Everybody likes the racing and it’s a fun track. There’s a few tough competitors from up there and some guys from Maine who come up. Travis Benjamin was pretty tough to beat last year.”
For a relatively young event, Speedweekend has already staked its claim as the premier annual stock car weekend of the season.
The NBIS 250 boasts strong teams from two countries. Here's New Brunswick's Myles Harris in one of last years's heat races (#31 - Top, 51 Photo) and the defending feature winner, Maine's Scott Chubbuck. (Bottom - Norm Marx Photo)
NBIS management will be working on the final preparations this week, but ready or not, Speedweekend kicks off with the free Bridges Farms Corn Boil on Friday night at 7pm (Sept 1). The racing starts at 7pm on Saturday, September 2nd with the O’Leary Pontiac Excitement Sportsman 150 and Atlantic Open Wheel (AOW) feature. Last year almost 40 sportsman attempted to qualify for 26 spots on the starting grid.
“The sportsman race was originally a support class, but the Saturday show has evolved into a huge event of its own,” said co-owner Chris Johnston. “The car counts keep growing every year and we expect it will again this season.”
The big show is on Sunday, September 3rd with the Irving Oil Pro Stock 250 Presented by Coca Cola. A full card of racing is slated for the day with action starting at 2pm with pro stock qualifying another AOW feature, and a Street Stock 50 lapper. After a brief break in the action, the green flag for the 6th Annual Irving Oil 250 will drop at approximately 7pm. NBIS caps off the weekend with an Enduro 200 at 2pm on Monday, September 4th.
The Irving Oil 250 Presented by Coca Cola will showcase the NBIS CARQUEST Pro Stocks against the best pro
“It’s one of the big ones,” said Chubbuck. “It’s only going to get bigger considering that there is no more Oxford 250 [for Super Late Models/Pro Stocks].”
Last year, the event attracted over 13,000 people with approximately 7,500 attending the Irving Oil 250 on Sunday. Camping has also proved to be a popular side attraction with just over 400 campers enjoying the weekend last year, many of them rolling in well before the event. This year, reservations for camping spots and tickets has kept the NBIS office hopping for much of the month of August, indicating another increase in camping and crowds.
“We are certainly expecting a lot more people this year,”
said NBIS co-owner Chris Johnston. “Most of the people who attended last year circled the date on their calendars so we’ve been fielding calls since at least June. And for the past three weeks, we’ve been dealing with a flood of ticket and camping reservations. More than last season.”
Given that the crowd was near capacity last year for the Irving Oil 250, the speedway will be installing some new grandstands in anticipation of a larger audience and working on creating additional parking and camping areas.
“We still have a lot of work, but basically this week we are concentrating on preparing the facility for the 13,000 or more people that are expected for the weekend. It’s a nice problem to have.” stated Johnston.
Former Irving Oil 250 champions Dave O’Blenis and Shawn Tucker are hoping to win the race for their homeland of Canada, while fighting off a list of American drivers that includes Chubbuck, former 250 winner Kirk Thibeau, two-time NASCAR Busch North Series champion Brad Leighton and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Johnny Benson.
Earlier this week, Jeremie and Bill Whorff, the father and son combination who finished 1-2 at this year’s storied TD BankNorth 250 at Oxford Plains in Maine also announced their plans to attend the race. The appearance will mark the Whorff’s first ever appearance at the New Brunswick facility and represent the end of a long tour of the eastern seaboard.
With only five weekly pro stock victories under his cap, the 22-year old Jeremie Whorff was considered a longshot to place well in the TD BankNorth 250 much less win, but he rose to the top in a very competitive field that included NASCAR veterans Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, J.J. Yeley, Ricky Craven and Northeastern US legends Ben and Mike Rowe, Sam Sessions, Dave Dion, and Chubbuck. Whorff finished nearly three seconds ahead if his 44-year old dad and has been on a tear lately, winning the weekly pro stock event at Oxford on August 12th.
The Whorffs will arrive in Fredericton after an extended tour of the eastern seaboard having competed at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina this past weekend. The Whorff Motorsports team lent NASCAR’s Jeremy Mayfield a ride for a PASS South sanctioned event and Jeremie drove his own car to a seventh place finish. .
Jeremie will become the third Oxford 250 winner in the history of the NBIS event to make the trek to New Brunswick, joining Dave Dion (winner - 1975, 1985, 1992) and Scott Robbins (winner - 2002). The Whorffs also become the second father-son combination to race in the history of the event following New Brunswickers Bill and Lonnie Sommerville (2001 and 2002).
The Irving Oil 250 Presented by Coca Cola is part of Speedweekend (September 1st-4th) and will showcase the NBIS CARQUEST Pro Stocks against the best pro stocks of the Eastern Canada and the New England. It is billed as the Largest Racing Event in Atlantic Canada with a purse OVER $60,000 with a possible winner’s cheque of $28,500. This includes a guaranteed $15,000 to the event winner. Initial estimates have the expected car in the area of 35-40 pro stocks from the Maritimes and Maine.
Scott Chubbuck (51 Photo)
Johnny Benson talks with his crew at last year's Irving 250. He'll be back this year.... (51 Photo)
....along with TD Banknorth 250 winner Jeremie Whorff and his father Bill, Jr. (51 Photo)