WEST PORTSMOUTH — Racing fans — we’ve reached the middle of October, meaning it’s that time of the year.
For the ninth consecutive year since moving the race to West Portsmouth beginning in 2012, Portsmouth Raceway Park will be welcoming fans for the series finale of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series — the 40th annual Dirt Track World Championship.
A UMP Modifieds race was set to kick off this year’s DTWC on Thursday, Oct. 15 — with the $100,000-to-win main event concluding the weekend of festivities on Saturday, Oct. 17
On Friday, Oct. 16, there will be races featuring Limited Late Models and Legends cars.
Saturday’s races include a Limited Late Model feature, The Todd Galloway Memorial presented by Pickett Concrete & Premier Precast Product, and the non-qualifier Late Models race — the Jim Dunn Memorial which pays $3,000 to the winner.
Just as last year’s main event was postponed until Sunday afternoon, the lead-up to the 2020 DTWC has been anything but simple.
With COVID-19 impacting similar events in cities across the United States, PRP track promoter Donna Rayburn said her main goal in working with state and local officials to have the event was to ensure guests’ safety when visiting their facilities — for any event in 2020.
“We’ve always tried to promote that by all means,” Rayburn said. “It’s exciting because it’s a race that pays $100,000 to the winner and also crowns the champion of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. We’ve worked really hard for this race, and all the others throughout the season too.”
Rayburn assured those which plan to attend the DTWC will see similar measures put into place that they would see when visiting any other local businesses, such as a restaurant or grocery store.
This includes temperature checks, mask wearing, and allowing for social distancing when possible inside the PRP grounds.
“This is quite new to all of us, and of course we want everyone in attendance and the community to stay safe,” Rayburn said. “We are asking all employees to wear masks, do temperature checks of those entering the facilities. We have areas marked off for social distancing. If you’re standing in any lines, we have those marked to include room for social distancing. We’ve placed extra hand sanitizers throughout the facilities for that added cleanliness that I think we’ve all gotten used to.”
As if it weren’t fitting enough to have the 40th annual DTWC hosted in the year 2020, the current points leader (as of Oct. 3) in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is Jimmy Owens — driver of the No. 20 car.
With a near 500-point lead ahead of second-place Tim McCreadie, the Newport, Tenn. native Owens has earned 11 wins in his 46 feature races during the 2020 season — and will likely finish in that top spot, regardless of his finish during Saturday’s season finale.
Regardless of your racing knowledge — either nationally or locally — Rayburn is encouraging those who’ve heard of the hype of the DTWC to show up for PRP’s weekend of racing fun, set to begin next Thursday.
“Race fans are loyal, loyal fans,” Rayburn said. “I think a lot of our race fans who are local will definitely show up. If you’ve never been to a race, you probably want to see what all the hype is about. It’s almost like a close-knit family. It brings a lot of us together — you can really depend on your racing family.”
For more information on attending the 40th annual DTWC — or for pictures, video or results from races during this and other racing seasons — visit www.portsraceway.com or check out the “Portsmouth Raceway Park” page on Facebook.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reservedReach