By Shawn Brouse
Port Royal – The Port Royal Fairgrounds Speedway Season Opener is set for Saturday, March 17 at 6 PM. An open wheel doubleheader is on tap with Aumiller’s Insurance 410 sprints and the companion 358 sprint division on the card.
Courtesy of Juniata Beverage, free 2012 schedule magnets will be given to the first 250 fans coming into the stands for the season opener.
Adult general admission for the show is $15.00 with students ages 12 – 18 just $5.00.
The 358 sprint portion of the program will be just the second show of the season for the division anywhere in the region.
Last year, Selinsgrove sensation Blane Heimbach upset for the opening day 410 sprint victory, taking the lead from Todd Shaffer. Pat Cannon won in 358 sprint action.
Both drivers have committed to returning to Port for the opener again this year.
Heimbach is just the most recent name to be added to a Port Royal opening day win list that is loaded with the stars of sprint car lore.
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, owns four openers, taking his first in 1981. Kauffman will be in the field on opening day, beginning his second 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.
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 draw. Tow money will be afforded to 358 drivers.
Coming up March 24 at the oval will be the season opener for the AB Auto Glass late models along with the 410 sprints, again at 6 PM.
And then the first three-division show of the year is slated for 6 PM on March 31 with the 410 sprints, late models and Miller’s Auto Parts pro stocks.
PRS 2012 – Racing into a new decade with a new attitude!
Port Royal Speedway