Selinsgrove Opperman Memorial preview

4/25/03, Selinsgrove, PA -- Only one week remains until the running of the 2nd Annual Jan Opperman Memorial for 410 sprint cars on Sunday, May 4 at Selinsgrove Speedway and many promotions are planned as part of the prestigious event. Meant to...

4/25/03, Selinsgrove, PA -- Only one week remains until the running of the 2nd Annual Jan Opperman Memorial for 410 sprint cars on Sunday, May 4 at Selinsgrove Speedway and many promotions are planned as part of the prestigious event.

Meant to honor the 1973 track champion, the 30-lap memorial will be the second leg of the five-date 2003 Middleswarth Potato Chips Susquehanna Valley 410 Sprint Series at the speedway. Mark Smith claimed night one on March 28 and as such has given himself a leg up on claiming the 2003 $10,000 Chip Challenge. Any driver who can claim three of the five races will garner the hefty bonus.

The speedway will remember one of the sports all-time greats when it presents an extensive pictorial and statistical biographical display during the Opperman Memorial. The presentation will focus on his entire career.

Former promoter Jack Gunn brought California's Opperman to Selinsgrove Speedway in April 1970. Gunn partnered with Etters's businessman Harold Hank to put Opperman behind the wheel and driving the Hank's Auto Parts No. 4, Opperman drove to six wins in the area in '70, two of which came at Selinsgrove. In his first appearance at the track, Opperman drove to a runnerup finish behind Mitch Smith.

Opperman's No. 4 has been restored by Eastern Museum of Motor Racing president Larry Stoner of Carlisle and Stoner will trek north with the car for the memorial. Also on display will be the Al Hamilton No. 77 as currently driven by defending Chip Series Champion Lance Dewease. Opperman piloted the Hamilton Special intermittently between 1974 and 1976 while recording three victories.

Lance Dewease will sign autographs from 4:30 until 5:00 p.m. along with last year's Opperman champion Todd Hestor and the track's all time leading feature winner, Ray Tilley. Television and radio commentator and former World of Outlaw star Brad Doty will also appear - signing autographs, offering 2003 Doty T-shirts and his life's story, "Still Wide Open."

Also on the agenda will be an offering of "Living Where The Thunder Hides, Jan Opperman's Life Story and Ministry." Limited quantities will be available at the speedway and can be purchased from representatives of the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing who will also be offering 8 x 10 photos of Opperman. All proceeds from EMMR sales will go entirely to the EMMR.

Former Opperman car owners Luke Bogar Jr. and Hamilton announced their renewed involvement. Owner of Opperman's championship No. 99, Bogar will distribute $99.00 to the winner of each heat event as well as the dash and to the night's fast qualifier. Bogar will also pay $20.00 to the leader of each circuit in the 30-lap memorial. Hamilton will pay $77.00 to each of the second place finishers in the heats and the dash.

Alexander Family Dealerships of Sunbury will sponsor a $500 Perfect Performance Bonus, which can only be claimed by the fast timer if he can continue on to win his heat, the dash and the main event. Lash Service Center of Beaver Springs will post a $300 Hard Charger Award and Hoosier Racing Tires will give away three free right rear tires to finishers 14, 18 and 24.

Middleswarth Potato Chips will distribute 1,500 bags of chips to general admission fans as they file into the speedway for the memorial. In addition, 24 -- 18oz. tubs of chips marked with corresponding feature starting grid positions will be given away to general admission fans. The lucky fan who receives the tub marked with the eventual winner's starting position will take home a Middleswarth prize pack valued at more than $25, $200 in cash from Middleswarth and he or she will take part in victory lane ceremonies.

The 2nd Annual Opperman Memorial includes the Super Sportsman and carries a raindate of June 1. It will be part of a huge weekend at Selinsgrove as the speedway hosts its 3rd Annual Pack The Track Night on May 3, featuring free general admission to fans. Gates for the Opperman tribute will open at 4 p.m. with hot laps slated for 5:30 followed by time trials at 6 PM.


Much like the inaugural Jan Opperman Memorial held last June at Selinsgrove Speedway, this year's event will again signal a reunion of sorts. Expected to be on hand for the second running of the prestigious event will be members of Opperman's family, his crewmembers and some of his most prominent car owners.

Two of three Opperman daughters, Krystal and Jay Lou along with their mother Mary, all of whom reside near Selinsgrove Speedway where Opperman claimed the 1973 track crown, plan to be in attendance. While tentative plans to be on hand for the event recently existed for namesake Jan Jr., confirmation was not available as of this writing.

Also expected to be reunited at the event for a second year in a row are Opperman car owner Luke "Dick" Bogar Jr. of Selinsgrove and mechanic Ralph Heintzelman along with crewmembers Al Curry of Illinois, Terry Reidinger of McClure, Phil Lash of Beaver Springs and others.

Former Opperman owner Al Hamilton is also expected to attend with hopes of seeing his Hamilton No. 77 with Lance Dewease at the wheel claim the race honoring his former pilot. Dewease claimed last year's season ending National Open along with the 2002 Middleswarth Chip Series title at the speedway.


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Series Sprint
Teams CIP