Port Royal – While the 2013 racing season at Port Royal Speedway gets underway for sprint cars on March 16 at 6 pm featuring the 410 and 358 sprints, it will be one week later when the powerful super late models take to the track on March 23.
And the first green flag of the season for the late models will find a familiar face back on track at Port Royal in the form of six-time track champion Steve Campbell of Danville.
Campbell took his first track title back in 1997 before repeating in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Over the off-season, Campbell officially confirmed the late 2012 rumblings that he and long-time late model powerhouse car owner Ed Powell would be teaming up in earnest for 2013 and making his return to Port Royal.
Now 49, this will be the first time that the sometimes-boisterous Powell and the somewhat timid Campbell have united during their long and successful careers in the sport.
And Campbell expects the partnership to be one of promise at Port Royal while the team also races weekly at Bedford Speedway on Fridays.
“I think we’re really good for this year. We have three cars,” Campbell says.
“It should be real good,” he says of the team and its upcoming season.
Campbell says this opportunity with Powell to go Port racing is a big load off of his own team, which he has fielded for the majority of his career.
“In my mind this is the best prepared we’ve been in maybe ever because we’ve always built our own stuff and we can race a little differently this way,” Campbell says of being a hired gun for Powell.
“ I’d like to win a few at Bedford and a few at Port Royal and hopefully we can stay consistent and figure out the points at the end of the season,” Campbell says.
Another big addition to the weekly Port Royal late model field in 2013 will be Derek Byler of Alexandria.
Byler got his first career Port Royal win in 2012 and is looking forward to being a regular at the Port this season.
“It’s real close for us and we really like what they’ve done in the past few years down there,” he says of why his team has decided to run Port weekly.
“They’re just really improving it all, trying to improve on something every week. The track’s always been two grooves when I’m there and that’s what I like, being able to pass high or low,” Byler says.
The 27-year old Huntingdon county driver says he’d like to improve on his win from last season by maybe getting three or four wins this year while also making a run at the track championship.
Of course the regular late model cast of drivers promises to be strong as ever with reigning champion Tim Wilson returning to defend his title along with Brett Schadel, Mike Lupfer, Scott Haus, Andy Haus and many more planning to be in competition.
A practice session is slated to informally open the Port Royal season on Saturday afternoon, March 9 from 1 – 4 pm. The session is open to any type of race cars that appear on the 2013 slate of events and offers free general admission to the public