Port Royal Opener Features 410 And 358 Sprints


Port Royal – The 62nd consecutive season opener at Port Royal Speedway is set for Saturday, March 19 at 6 PM.  On the twin bill card is 410 and 358 sprint competition. 

The Port Royal Opening Day win list is fraught with eye catching names going back to the very first opener, held November 11, 1950 and won by Elmer Gray.

Since that time, 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, 1995, 1997, 2006, 2007 and 2008. 

Keith Kauffman, the all time winningest driver at the track, owns four openers, taking his first in 1981.  Kauffman will be in the field on opening day, making his return to weekly auto racing at the track.

Lance Dewease, also expected to be in the field, has wins in 1994 and 2003 to his name.

Rick Lafferty of Pennington, New Jersey, is the defending Opening Day winner having outraced Daryn Pittman in 2010. 

Defending track champion Chad Layton, who won the Port opener for his brother in 2009, will be seeking his first Opening Day victory for car owner Dave Middleswarth in this year’s program. 

As owners go, retired 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 Gardners’ 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.

Aside from Beams in more recent years, 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.

Pit gates for the 2011 season lidlifter will swing open at 3 PM with general admission gates opening at 4 PM.  Warm ups are slated for 5:30.  Adult general admission is $15.00 with ages 12 – 17 producing a student ID admitted for just $10.00.   

The 410 sprints will compete in a regular 25-lap feature event with the 358s going 20 laps.  Lineups for both divisions will be set by luck of the draw.  Tow money will be afforded to 358 drivers.