Organizers for the Heart of a Champion Hot Rod Classics Vintage Race Car Series are thrilled to announce two special awards for the series which will be named for two cherished members of the Maritime motorsports community.

The John W. Chisholm Innovation Award is named for the late John W. Chisholm and will recognize the racer who created their Hot Rod Classics race car with the most innovation, either a rebuild or newly built car, and taking into consideration looks and operation. The award will be voted on by members of the Heart of a Champion Checkered Flag Club. John W. Chisholm was the builder of Riverside International Speedway in 1969 and rebuilt it in 2006. He was also an accomplished racer, businessman, philanthropist, co-founder of the IWK 250 in 2007 – an innovator in everything he tackled.

The Jerry Lawrence Pioneer Award is named for Jerry ‘Jer Bear’ Lawrence. Well-known in the motorsports world since the 1960s, he has entertained motorsports fans as an announcer, been a promoter, and is the co-founder of the original ‘250’ at Riverside in 1977. Recipients of the Jerry Lawrence Pioneer Award will be recognized for outstanding contributions to preserving Maritime motorsports. They will be selected by organizers for Heart of a Champion.

There will be one recipient per year for each award, to be announced in the fall. They will be recognized throughout the subsequent season at Hot Rod Classics events and all-year long on the Heart of a Champion/ Hot Rod Classics website ( or

Fans who would like to vote for the John W. Chisholm Innovation Award should join the Checkered Flag Club FREE at Besides voting privileges, members receive other perks including eligibility for a monthly draw. Members of the Checkered Flag Club will also be invited to nominate potential recipients of the Jerry Lawrence Pioneer Award. Voting will commence after the series season opener in July and nominations will be accepted prior to that.

Several cars are already registered for the series ranging from restored originals to custom-built replicas; stay tuned to the Heart of a Champion/Hot Rod Classics website for driver info in the near future. Building rules and procedures can be found here.

The Hot Rod Classics Vintage Race Car Series is scheduled to debut July 18 at Riverside International Speedway as part of the legendary IWK 250 Super Weekend. It will be the first of five events for 2020 as the series visits all three Maritime provinces; race dates can be found at

Since its launch in mid-2017, Heart of a Champion’s social media following has flourished to over 7,000 with a weekly reach approaching 100,000 – clearly demonstrating an interest in and passion for our Maritime motorsports heritage.

The Hot Rod Classics series will showcase race cars from 1980 or older – some original, some rebuilt, and some newly built – giving veteran fans an opportunity to relive precious memories and at the same time providing a forum where newer fans can experience race cars of a bygone era. The series expects to run a handful of events this season. Vintage car racing is presently the fastest-growing division in North American motorsports.

Ground-floor opportunities are available for corporate partners of Heart of a Champion Hot Rod Classics; to learn more please email

Heart of a Champion was founded in 2017 to help preserve Maritime motorsports heritage. Organizers used a 1967 vintage stock car they had restored to rekindle memories with veteran fans and to educate new fans, showing the car at motorsports events throughout the Maritimes. At the same time, they launched a basic website and a Facebook page, using it to share vintage racing photos, stories, and a weekly ‘Saturday Salute’ to someone who has helped build motorsports in our region – someone with the Heart of a Champion

In 2018 the group acquired a vintage open wheel modified race car. In 2019 they used it to garner interest in the potential for a vintage race car series in the region and last July announced their intent to form the HOAC Hot Rod Classics Vintage Race Car Series, to debut in 2020. This past October, HOAC announced an affiliation with the IWK Foundation as an awareness and fundraising partner.

About Heart of a Champion

Heart of a Champion is dedicated to preserving Maritime motorsports heritage by rekindling memories for veteran fans and educating new fans about the people and events that have helped shape motorsports in the region. To accomplish this, they use static and interactive mediums and in 2020 will launch the region’s first-ever vintage race car series, the Hot Rod Classics. To learn more please visit or Fans can also follow Heart of a Champion on Facebook and YouTube.