PORT ROYAL, Pa. – As soon as the final laps of the season were completed and the victory lane celebrations wrapped up on the front stretch of the Port Royal Speedway, the track team began work on what will be a busy offseason.
While many things will remain the same, several large projects are in the works.
When entering the speedway, one of the first improvements fans will notice will be the addition of a new handicap accessible concrete tunnel that will replace the old outdated tunnel that enters the infield under the speedway entering turn one.
Also looking vastly different will be victory lane, as the old raised stage will be torn up, along with the old infield tower. A new victory lane is being built near the middle of the frontstretch.
The current infield bathrooms under the old stage and the infield concessions stands are also being removed and will be moved further back and in an area between turns one and two, where new structures are being built.
This is being done to open visibility for fans and will allow for the track to widen the frontstretch racing surface by 10 feet. Another big change will be the addition of a time trial staging area, to include a lane for push trucks and for drivers to fire their cars. This is a residual of the new time trial format, where after hot laps cars will remain inside the track in the staging area with their mules/carts.
This will not only improve on safety for time trials, but it will give fans an up-close view of last-minute preparations and adjustments being made to cars prior to heading out for their time trials laps. Lastly, the old flag stand will be torn down and a narrower structure is being built a few feet to the left of the old one to align with the scoring loop and new grandstands are being built inside the pit viewing area.
All projects will be completed in in time for the annual test and tune, which will be held March 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. That will serve as the lead up for the 78th Port Royal Speedway opening day on March 8 at 2 p.m.
This will be the second consecutive season that the speedway will attempt a Sunday evening opener and will feature the 410 sprint cars and the super late model division in full programs of racing.
Last year Dylan Cisney picked up the win in sprint car competition and Jason Covert picked up the late model feature.
If the March 8 events are affected by weather and speedway officials are forced to cancel, the track will try again on March 14.
Several other confirmed dates for the racing season include a March 21 visit by the ULMS Late Models, visits by the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series on April 19 and a two-day show Aug. 28-29, with the Saturday night finale paying $50,000 to the winner. The 53rd annual running of the Tuscarora 50 will be held Sept. 12.