Portsmouth Raceway Park is preparing to wrap up its 25th season with the grandest event the track has ever witnessed – The Optima Batteries Dirt Track World Championship presented by NAPA Auto Parts.
The 35th annual DTWC will be held at PRP for the fourth consecutive year, but the for the first time ever, this crown-jewel event will pay $100,000 to win, which is twice as much as last season.
“It’s something I had been thinking about for several years, and I just felt like it was time to make the move,” DTWC Promoter Carl Short said regarding the race’s increased payout. “I’m thinking right now it’s probably a permanent move.”
The race will pay $2,000 just simply to start, which is equivalent to a win at most weekly shows.
In addition to being one of the premier races in the dirt-track racing community, this weekend’s race will also mark the season finale for the Lucas Oil Late Model Series, which is consequently one of if not the premier dirt racing series in the United States with drivers such as Georgia’s Jonathan Davenport, Tennessee’s Scott Bloomquist and Jimmy Owens, Florida’s Earl Pearson, Jr., and Indiana’s Don O’Neil.
This weekend’s race will mark the third Lucas Oil Series race Portsmouth Raceway Park has hosted this season, with Bloomquist and 2013 DTWC winner Brandon Sheppard winning the other two. However, this weekend’s race will by far be the largest ever for the Coleman-family owned venue which has housed the DTWC since 2012.
“PRP is a beautiful facility with great folks to work with, which is the reason I’m here,” Short said. “The Colemans and Donna Rayburn, who promotes the track for them, are super fantastic folks to work with and I don’t see it moving any time soon.”
This three-day event scheduled to begin Thursday evening is expected to bring in drivers and fans from all over. Last year’s DTWC welcomed over 90 Late Model drivers as well as over 90 Modified competitors. This season’s DTWC will also feature Late Models and Modifieds, with the Modified Feature paying $4,000 to win and $400 to start.
Fans have already started rolling into Portsmouth for this weekend’s race. The PRP camping area was officially opened this past Sunday. Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., 144 RVs entered the grounds. Visitors have already arrived from as far away as Ontario, Canada as well as Florida, South Dakota, and New Hampshire.
Racing will officially get underway Thursday, as Glockner.com presents an evening of Modified action. On Thursday’s schedule will be Modified Time Trials, Heats, Consy’s, and a Non-qualifiers Race paying $600 to win, $428 for second, and $228 for eighth all in memory of the late Wince Mayabb, who was known as the father of 191 Speedway in Campton, KY and associated with Car Number 28.
The Lucas Oil Late Models will take center stage on Friday with first and second round heat races. This year’s DTWC will feature the popular passing points format. Racers will compete in two rounds of qualifying heat races, with the passing points total from both rounds determining the B-Main and Feature lineups.
On Saturday, there will be an autograph session between 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. The Late Model B-Mains are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Those will be followed by the $4,000-to-win Modified Feature, the Late Model Non-Qualifiers Race, the Jim Dunn Memorial, and the $100,000-to-win Dirt Track World Championship 100-lap Feature. Depending on time, the Jim Dunn Memorial could potentially take place following the feature.