by Jeff Pederson
for The Beacon
On the heels of a 2020 season that was far from normal, Plymouth Dirt Track Racing fans, track workers and supporters are hoping the upcoming campaign will take on a little more familiar look.
Last season featured a seven-week delay due to COVID-19. When racing finally got going June 6, a number of restrictions were in place, including how many people could attend.
Track officials are crossing their fingers that the 17th season of PDTR and 61st overall of regular weekly racing competition at the tradition-rich Plymouth one-third mile dirt track will be a little more on the normal side.
“We are very hopeful in regard to attendance restrictions for the 2021 season,” PDTR Marketing and Promotions Director Bill Weinaug said. “At a minimum we will be at where we were last year, which was 50 percent capacity.
“Hopefully, we can open that up even further. All in all, considering the restrictions that we had to put in place last year, we had no problems and everything went very smoothly from a health and safety perspective, which was great to see.”
The 21-date campaign is set to begin on May 1 and wrap up Sept. 25.
Start times in May will move up one hour with grandstand gates opening at 3:30 p.m., hot laps at 4:30 and racing at 5.
On normal race nights beginning in June, grandstand gates will open at 4:30 p.m. with hot laps at 5:30 and racing at 6.
WHAT FANS CAN EXPECT
As far as competition in each weekly division, Weinaug expects the level of talent to be as strong as ever.
“We have a good number of top competitors coming back in each division and about five new Sprint Car drivers and several new B Mod drivers joining us this year,” he said. “Car counts should go up this year overall.”
One part of the PDTR program that Weinaug hopes will get back on track this year are kids’ activities.
“Last year, outside of a few driver meet and greets, we weren’t able to do any kids’ activities, which are very important and a big key to what we do,” Weinaug said.
“We have tentatively scheduled an American flag handout on May 29, several glow stick handout nights, Backpack Night and Autograph Night on Aug. 7 and other scattered special kids’ activities throughout the season, which we will announce as we get closer to them based on where we stand with any restrictions that might still be in place.”
HOW’S THE SCHEDULE?
In addition to the regular weekly program, which features 360 Sprint Cars, Late Models, Grand Nationals and B Mods, the season is currently scheduled to feature a return appearance by the national touring FloRacing All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 Sprint Car Series in conjunction with the Bumper to Bumper Interstate Racing Association Series on June 5.
Another major highlight is a special $5,000-to-win IRA 410 Sprint Car Series event to kick off the highly anticipated debut NASCAR Cup Series weekend at nearby Road America July 1.
Both all-Sprint Car special events will also feature the PDTR 360 Sprint Cars.
NEW SPONSORS AS WELL
In addition to new clay added to the track surface last fall, Weinaug said two businesses have stepped up to serve as division sponsors with B93 Sheboygan’s Country stepping up to sponsor the Late Model division and Oostburg Automotive sponsoring the Grand National division.
Kristine Hartmann Pleasantview Realty returns as the 360 Sprint Car division sponsor and Cellcom will again sponsor the B Mod division.
Hard Charger Award sponsors include Kristine Hartmann Pleasantview Realty (360 Sprint Car), Racer’s Hall (Late Model) and Schwaller Painting and Staining (B Mods) with the Grand Nationals Hard Charger Award yet to be announced.
The winner’s circle sponsor is Kunes Country RV.