Selinsgrove - Opperman Memorial preview

5/26/02, Selinsgrove, PA -- After months of preparation, the stage is now set for the running of the Inaugural Jan Opperman Memorial for 410 sprint cars this Sunday, June 2 at Selinsgrove Speedway. The popular event will kickoff the four-date ...

5/26/02, Selinsgrove, PA -- After months of preparation, the stage is now set for the running of the Inaugural Jan Opperman Memorial for 410 sprint cars this Sunday, June 2 at Selinsgrove Speedway. The popular event will kickoff the four-date Middleswarth Potato Chips Susquehanna Valley 410 Sprint Series with gates for the Opperman Memorial that includes the Super Sportsman opening at 4:30 p.m. and warm ups slated for 6 p.m.

Meant to honor the speedway's 1973 track champion, the night will feature the $10,000 Chip Challenge for sprint cars at the only track where Opperman ever garnered a crown. Time trials are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

In conjunction with Middleswarth Chips and Lash Service Center, the speedway will pay $10,000 to win if one of the front row starters opts to go to the rear and then proceeds to win the event. If not claimed, the 30-lapper will pay $3,000 to the winner along with $20 to the leader of each circuit compliments of Opperman championship car owner Luke Bogar.

Both Bogar and Al Hamilton, owner of Opperman's No. 77 from 1974 -- 76, will respectively post $99.00 to the winner and $77.00 to the second place finishers in each of the heats and dash. $99.00 will also be awarded to the night's fast timer in honor of the Bogar/Opperman No. 99.

Former promoter Jack Gunn first brought California transplant Opperman to Selinsgrove Speedway in April of 1970. Gunn partnered with Etters's businessman Harold Hank to put Opperman behind the wheel.

At the helm of 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 restored Hank's Auto Parts No. 4 will be on display at the event as provided by Eastern Museum of Motor Racing president Larry Stoner. Hamilton's No. 77 as currently driven by Lance Dewease will also appear with Dewease signing autographs from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The speedway will remember one of the sports all-time greats when it presents an extensive pictorial and statistical biographical display prior to the memorial. Opperman shifted his focus to Indy Racing in 1974 and the presentation will focus on his entire career.

Also on the agenda will be the area's first offering of "Living Where The Thunder Hides, Jan Opperman's Life Story and Ministry." The fourth major publication on his life, limited quantities will be available in soft and hard cover for $10.00 and $20.00 respectively with all proceeds above cost donated to the Jan Opperman Fund.

With beautifully designed, full color artwork, Inaugural Jan Opperman Memorial T's will also be available. At a price of $18.00, the one-of-a-kind shirt displays Opp at his best, hard on the gas in the famed Bogar 99 sprint car, enshrouded by a beautiful blue sky. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Opperman Fund.

In addition, 8 x 10 photos of Opperman will be offered. Proceeds from picture sales will benefit the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.

The night will feature a reunion of Opperman's championship winning car owner and pit crew. Members of the famed early '70's team will travel from as far away as Illinois to participate in the event. Opperman's wife and children are also expected to attend.

The Opperman Memorial carries a raindate of Sunday, June 9. Confirmed entries for the inaugural event include Dewease along with Sean Michael, Fred Rahmer, Greg Hodnett, Todd Shaffer, Keith Kauffman, Todd Hestor, Shawn Keen, Mark Smith, Brook Weibley and Western Pennsylvania flyer Kevin Schaeffer among others.

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Series Sprint