By Shawn Brouse
Port Royal – A Demon is coming to Port Royal Speedway! And he’ll hit with a storm for sure!
“The Demon”, Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif., is headed for Port Royal Speedway and will hit town when the USAC Eastern Storm pummels the oval this Saturday, June 4 at 7 PM.
For the first time in history, USAC point leader Gardner and his United States Auto Club comrades will compete at Port Royal as part of the Eastern Strom tour that will climax at the track with the crowning of the tour champion.
The mighty wingless USAC 410 sprint cars will vie in a 40-lap feature paying $6,000 to win along with ARDC Midgets, which are also on the program.
For 34-year old Gardner, the 2008 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals Champion, it’s all about the show at the big half-mile that he’s only heard about until now.
“Just pretty much just big. The first thing they say is it’s big,” Gardner says of the word on the USAC street regarding what he should expect to experience at the historic fairgrounds oval when he hauls onto the track for the first time.
“I’m game for any size racetrack. I mean, obviously I like the ones where we can maneuver a bit and get faster. That’s part of what we do.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing it for the first time,” he says of Port Royal.
“I like going to new tracks. Everybody’s always a little off when they’ve never been there before so that’s always fun.”
Gardner, who has won 33 times in his career with USAC and CRA, expects the strength of the Eastern Storm’s numbers this year to be at its best.
“It’s gonna’ be one of our best years, because the way the points are, they (USAC) went to all dirt this year for the championship, and that’s a big plus.”
“And it’s in the beginning of the year and that’s always good. I’d say there’s gonna’ be more cars this year than before for sure.”
“There’s gonna’ be some really good talent coming this year. Some guys coming that don’t normally come.”
Among USAC standouts expected aside from Gardner, names include Bryan Clauson, Dave Darland, Casey Riggs, Levi Jones, Chris Windom, Bud Kaeding, Brady Short, Casey Shuman, Tracy Hines and many more.
“I love it,” Gardner says of coming East.
“I thrive off the fans and you got great fans. They come to the track and show their appreciation and I like to put a good show on for them. It’s phenomenal when we come there and I look forward to going there every year.”
Gardner has won twice already this season with USAC in Florida and he’ll be looking for his next win of the season Saturday at Port Royal Speedway.
Gates for the show open at with at 5 PM with time trials slated for 7 PM.
As part of the program, the annual Williams Grove Old Timers/Penn Central Racing Reunion will be taking place on speedway grounds with plenty of restored racecars on display that will also receive track time.
The restored Bogar No. 99 Jan Opperman sprint car driven by Opperman to a win against USAC at Eldora Speedway in 1974 will be on display as well.
And the track will honor brothers Eddie and Guy McCardle with the 2011 Founders Awards for their accomplishments and efforts in helping create the track as a weekly racing venue during its formative auto racing years in the early 1950s.
PRS 2011 – Racing into a new decade with a new attitude!
Port Royal Speedway