Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Riverside International Speedway Founder John Chisholm Dies - July 4, 2014

January 5, 1946 - July 4, 2014
John Chisholm
Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.
John and father Donald co-founded Nova Construction, one of the largest road building companies east of Quebec. When it came to the business of moving dirt and building roads, John was a natural from the start.

The Chisholm clan, whose centuries-old motto was "I am fierce with the fierce", was a family of farmers, loggers and earth-movers. Mechanical competence was considered a necessity of life. So at age 4, with his father looking on stoically, John Nova learned to drive a tractor. He bought his first D4 dozer at 17 and won a contract to dig the basement of the Angus L. MacDonald Library at St. Francis Xavier University, happily cutting classes to do so. Later that year John quit school for good and founded Nova Construction.

John Chisholm had a dream, to build a superior racing facility in his hometown of Antigonish. A lover of NASCAR racing, he traveled to Tennessee in the mid-1960s to scope out the legendary Bristol Motor Speedway, and ultimately created a replica. The Riverside International Speedway opened in 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, bringing in the reigning Daytona 500 winner, Benny Parsons, to drive his ’72 Chevelle.

In 1989 he sold Riverside, buying it back in 2005. He rebuilt the facility in 2006 and his son Donald races their today.

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

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