Stock car drivers in the Maritimes are returning to the track to remember Mike Stevens, as more details emerge about his death last week.
Stevens, 30, died last Saturday after a crash at the Oyster Bed Speedway in P.E.I. His car flipped and landed on its roof. He had only two laps left in the 100-lap race.
Allison MacKinnon, a fellow driver, said Stevens was talking to his wife while he was still strapped in. But when he went to release his harness, he was pinned and unable to breathe.
MacKinnon is still trying to come to terms with what happened. It was Stevens who first welcomed him to the Pro Stock Tour four years ago.
To honour Stevens, MacKinnon and several other drivers will carry his No. 4 on the track this weekend. Any winnings will go to Stevens' family.
"Even last Saturday night he gave me a wave on the way by there when they were coming from the driver's meeting. So you know, it meant a lot to me,' MacKinnon said.
Brandon Snow's car will be clad with a piece of Stevens' old chassis.
"We all have to stick together and kind of pull through this together as a community. And I think slowly we'll get through this," Snow said.
The speedway will also help raise money.
Hundreds of people gathered Friday night at Stevens' home track of Petty International Raceway in River Glade, N.B.
Craig Slaunwhite's car was one of dozens that lined the speedway.
"He'd probably say you're all fools for standing there in the rain and have a good laugh," said Slaunwhite, a stock car driver from Halifax who competed against Stevens for nearly six years.
"The first race this year in Antigonish I was out with brake troubles, and he ended up getting under my car, fixing it and got me to a seventh place finish. That kind of tells you what kind of guy he was. You know, he was a fierce competitor on the track, but the biggest heart out of anyone," Slaunwhite said.
Ken Mackenzie was Stevens' neighbour and knew him when he first started racing at the age of 16.
"He's a big boy with a smile bigger than a race track. It just seemed to be teeth from one end to the other. He was always kind of quiet until you got to know him and talk to him, and then he was funny as heck to be around," Mackenzie said.
Stevens leaves behind a wife and two young sons.
He will also be honoured with a moment of silence at Scotia Speedworld in Nova Scotia.