Port Royal Speedway opener set

Weather permitting, there should be racing this Saturday afternoon at the Port Royal Speedway, after a one-week postponement of the historic ovals 52nd Annual season opener. Officials were forced to red flag the tracks scheduled lidlifter this...

Weather permitting, there should be racing this Saturday afternoon at the Port Royal Speedway, after a one-week postponement of the historic ovals 52nd Annual season opener. Officials were forced to red flag the tracks scheduled lidlifter this past Saturday due to wet grounds and complications involving the installation of the tracks new grandstand.

After learning of an unexpected 4 -- 6 week delay in delivery of the tracks new 3,100 + seat grandstand just days before the scheduled opener on March 17, speedway officials are trying to remedy the problem while also seizing the opportunity to further increase the tracks end result seating capacity.

On the heels of a special meeting of the Juniata County Fairboard promotional team late last week, track president Buzz Hower and board member Brian Towsey met with representatives of the now silent Flemington Speedway, in Flemington, New Jersey on Sunday morning.

As a result of the meeting, Port Royal will purchase between 500 and 1,000 of Flemington's bleacher seats and relocate them to Juniata County. Flemington Speedway, a 155 year-old fairboard owned facility itself, currently lies dormant with its future in serious doubt after recent lackluster seasons.

"The delay in getting the new grandstand does not make us happy at all," say speedway officials. "But we certainly can't cancel a month of racing waiting for it to come and this deal with Flemington allows us to make the best of a bad situation by having improved the speedway even more when all is said and done. We must thank the people at Flemington for helping us out."

With the project being spearheaded by Towsey, track maintenance crews will dismantle the Flemington stands in Jersey, transport them to Port Royal and then erect the structure at the start of the speedways frontstretch. And with the current fourth turn seating capacity at Port Royal already numbering over 1,200 seats, track president Buzz Hower is determined not to let the absence of the new grandstand or the installation of the Flemington seating halt racing action at the track.

"If the weather cooperates, we will try to race this Saturday," says Hower. "We foresee having the seating from Flemington in place within two to three weeks, dependent upon the weather and until then, the seats we have in place along with the entire infield gives us more than enough room to go racing."

     The tracks electrical system and concession stands are also expected to 
be near fully operational on raceday.  "We will be a little rough around the 
edges," says Hower.  "But there is no reason we can't try to race."

Saturday's program features the sprint cars and late models with racing getting underway at 1 P.M. Australian driver Skip Jackson is the defending opening day sprint car winner while Hamburg, PA driver Scotty Haus defends in the late model division.

- Shawn Brouse

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Series Sprint , Stock car