Maritimes oldest Race Track going strong!
On June 8th, 2008, the curtain rose on the 44th consecutive race season at River Glade Speedway, the Maritime's oldest race track. The track was originally built and operated by Canadian Hall of Fame member Ernie McLean from 1964 to 1995, then sold to Pat Rodgers, who operated it until 2005. At this point the track was again sold to its present owners, Herman Berry and Mike Waddell who are in their fourth year of successful ownership.
With the financial constraints and high costs of living in the Maritimes, management decided to cut back on the number of events in 2008 and opted instead for a limited schedule of six major events. A number of this season's events have already been run, all very successfully and enjoying good crowds. The track boasts of hosting the oldest race event in Eastern Canada and the third oldest in Canada, the River Glade International.
Over the years the race has been run in several different formats, from the old Modifieds to Mascar to the present day Sportsman cars. The winners' list reads like a "who's who" of racing with the likes of Don Biederman, Frank Fraser, and Junior Hanley emblazoned on the beautiful trophy. The track has played host to several racing superstars, including the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the late Alan Kulwicki. Both raced cars during their visits but neither one managed to capture a victory.
River Glade action!
Even today, the International is the one race that every Maritime racer dreams of winning. Last year, six time winner, Frank Fraser, passed up a pro stock ride to try for one more win in the International, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his last win. The eventual race winner in 2007, Wayne Wormell, said that he has always "dreamed of winning this one". This year the race is scheduled to be run on August 17th and is 144 laps (100 laps plus 1 lap for each year it has been run).
The track is a quarter mile oval with the concrete wall in turn three being the cause of many a driver's nightmares. As recently as June 8th, two racers, Ken MacKenzie and Bill Sommerville became entangled with MacKenzie's car ending up on top of Sommerville's and his rear wheel jutting into Sommerville's drivers window. Neither driver was injured in the mishap, attesting to the safety of these cars. The track has five classes of cars performing regularly. The Sunday Drivers and Warriors divisions are four cylinder machines while the Street Stocks and Sportsman classes are eight cylinders. The fifth class is the Legends car class.
The track operates a full time website, rivergladespeedway.ca. For more information on track happenings, check it out. The track has withstood many challenges over the years and with the present ownership in charge, it will withstand many more.
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