Port Royal – The Port Royal Speedway Season Opener is set for this week, Saturday, March 16 at 6 PM.
An open wheel doubleheader is on tap with Aumiller’s Insurance 410 sprints and 358 sprints on the card.
The 410 sprints will race for $3,300 to win their 25-lap feature event while the 358 sprints will race for $1,000 to win their 20-lapper. Tow money will be posted for 358 teams.
Lineups for both divisions Saturday will be set by draw.
The first 400 fans entering the general admission gate for the opener will get a free schedule magnet, compliments of Juniata Beverage.
Adult general admission for the show is $15.00 with students ages 12 – 18 just $5.00.
General admission gates open at 4 pm.
For the 358 sprints, it will be just the second show of the season for the division anywhere in the region.
Last year Greg Hodnett and Pat Cannon lifted the lid on the Port Royal season with wins in the 410 and 358 divisions respectively.
It was Hodnett’s first ever Port opener victory last season while Cannon went back to back, having also taken the 358 portion of the opener in 2011 as well.
Both drivers are expected to be in the Port opener fields again this season.
Hodnett added his name to the Port Royal opening day win list that is loaded with the stars of sprint car racing.
Names like Jan Opperman, Mitch Smith, Steve Smith, Dick Tobias, Jay Myers and many more have graced the winner’s circle at the first sprint race of the season at the Juniata County oval.
No driver has accumulated more Port opener victories than driver Todd Shaffer of Millerstown. Mr. Excitement took wins in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Keith Kauffman, the all time winningest driver at the track, who recently announced that 2013 will be his farewell tour, owns four openers, taking his first in 1981. Kauffman will be in the field on opening day, beginning his third season aboard the seat of the Heckman No. 8H machine.
On the owner side, veterans Gary and Patty Beam share top billing as the most prolific Port Opening Day winners.
Beams had Todd Shaffer behind the wheel for wins in ’95, ’96, ’97, ’07 and ’08 while Joey Gravino won for the couple in 1989.
Famed owner Bob Weikert follows Beams closely with five wins having come with Kauffman in 1981 and 1993, Bobby Davis Jr. in 1983, Doug Wolfgang in 1986 and Jeff Swindell in 1991.
Owners John and Pee Wee Zemaitis have fielded the winning entry on four occasions with three different drivers.
Mark Smith doubled up for the team in 2004 and 2005. Skip Jackson overcame the rain for a win in 2000 and Kevin Gobrecht began a whirlwind run of three victories within 24-hours by claiming an afternoon win at Port in 1999.
Coming up March 23 at the oval will be the season opener for the late models along with the 410 sprints and an enduro dash, again at 6 PM.
Kids Easter Night offering free chocolate Easter Rabbits to the first 200 youth entering the stands and a kids Easter Egg Scramble in the infield is slated for March 30. Racing will include 410 sprints, late models and the season opener for the pro stocks.