PRP postpones 2020 opening night

By Paul Boggs - [email protected]

WEST PORTSMOUTH — Milli Vanilli once sang, or rather it was lip sync, Blame It on the Rain.

You can blame this one on the rain as well.

That’s because, as per a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday, opening night for Portsmouth Raceway Park’s 2020 season has been postponed —as it was scheduled to be for Saturday, May 9.

The post simply stated “Due to high water at the facility, opening night has been postponed. We will post an update when we have rescheduled an opening date. Thank you!”

The PRP has traditionally opened the second Saturday in May, with racing —with weather and track conditions permitting — almost every Saturday night through September.

However, heavy rains within the last three weeks — including originally on April 8 and again on Wednesday — forced that May 9 date to become increasingly a washout.

At the time, 15-year PRP promoter Donna Rayburn wasn’t optimistic about a May 9 opening night with the (PRP) Kickoff Classic — due to the time needed to clean up and completely sanitize the entire dirt-track facility along State Route 73 in West Portsmouth.

That entire facility — which often floods because of its location close to the Scioto AND Ohio rivers — includes the dirt track, grandstands, concession stand and restrooms.

As of Thursday, opening night now remains pending — given not only the high-water situation, but also because of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s “Stay-At-Home” order remaining in place.

In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis in the Buckeye State, DeWine issued an original “Stay-At-Home” order effective on March 24, then extended it on April 2 to remain in effect thru Friday, May 1.

On Monday, DeWine announced a modification of that directive as the state attempts to “re-open” in “phases”, but mass gatherings of individuals — until further notice — are limited to 10 or fewer people.

In a report which appeared in the April 11 edition of The Portsmouth Daily Times, Rayburn re-stated the importance of following Facebook and the PRP’s page for “updates on anything”, as a complete 2020 schedule of events is listed on the PRP’s website (

During the season, the track’s telephone number is available for information — and is (740) 354-FAST.

To conclude the 2020 PRP campaign, for three nights in mid-October, the 40th annual Dirt Track World Championships are set — and includes the Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour (Oct. 15 and 16), Dirt Super Late Models (Oct. 16-17), the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Oct. 16-17) and Limited Late Models (Oct. 16-17).

Last year, the 25th and final Fred Dillow Memorial took place in mid-August, but new to the PRP will be the third annual Dean Knittel Memorial on June 20.

The first two Dean Knittel Memorials took place at Atomic Speedway near Alma in Ross County, as the All-Star Sprints event pays $15,554 to win.

By Paul Boggs

[email protected]

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved