The numbers add up: PASS is rocking in 2024

By Frank Buhrman

PORT ROYAL, Pa. (April 3, 2024) – The River Valley Builders Pennsylvania Sprint Series isn’t usually like NASCAR, starting the season with its biggest race, but thanks to last weekend’s rainout at Path Valley Speedway and last October’s weather issues at Port Royal Speedway, that’s what’s happening in 2024.

The new season gets underway Saturday, April 6 at Port Royal with the 12th annual Keystone RaceSaver Challenge, postponed from 2023 to become the ultimate season opener in 2024. The race has received a significant sponsorship boost from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and the division is sponsored at Port Royal by Penns Valley Meat Market.

With nearly a week before the green flag, the pre-registration (entry) list has topped 50 and may be headed toward one of its highest totals ever. With 410 sprint car racing also on tap, plus that many IMCA/RaceSaver Sprinters fighting for a spot in the KRC starting field, this is a day of racing not to be missed.

Even if this wasn’t the Keystone, though, all signs point to this beginning a banner season for IMCA RaceSaver racing with River Valley Builders PASS.

As of the end of March, 65 teams had registered as “active” for the year and put forward a prospective schedule (even if that schedule includes only the KRC or another race for travelers), and the quality is high in those numbers.

Last season, 109 teams took part in at least one PASS program. Of those, 26 ran 10 or more races, and 24 of those teams are already registered to return this season, including the entire top 20 in 2023 points. 

Of 48 teams that ran five or more races, 40 have indicated they will return. In both cases, more may follow;

55 of the 65 registered teams ran at least one PASS race last season. Of the remainder, four are rookies (there is a fifth rookie who ran a single race in 2023) and six are veterans who have raced with PASS before but didn’t do so last year. Half of those are former PASS regulars, with the others being travelers from other IMCA RaceSaver regional groups.

Many of the occasional PASS entrants are regulars in those other series, particularly the Laurel Highlands Spring Series (the western part of Central Pennsylvania), the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series (New Jersey, Delaware, and Eastern Pennsylvania), the Virginia Sprint Series (which also runs in Maryland and North Carolina) and the Allegheny Sprint Tour (far Western Pennsylvania).

Since IMCA/RaceSaver rules are standard, drivers have also come from Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia and even Texas.

RaceSaver regulars are the core of PASS’ success, which makes this season’s high team return race so meaningful.

“This shows that our drivers understand that River Valley Builders PASS has a formula that works for them,” said Series Director Rod Ort. “The common-sense rules and fair enforcement, and the equitable purse structure have kept RaceSaver healthy while others might be struggling.”

“The Pennsylvania Game Commission involvement is a good example. They added significantly to the purse for the KRC, but instead of putting it all in the winner’s payoff, we divided in up through the entire field,” he continued. “The winner of this race gets $1,000 and last place gets $500, so everybody benefits. The non-qualifiers’ feature pays $300 to win and $150 to start, giving 50 teams a meaningful feature event.”

“It keeps competition close, and it keeps teams coming out, for big races like the Keystone RaceSaver Challenge, and for every other show on our schedule,”

Schedule note: Because this weekend’s Keystone RaceSaver Challenge is a make-up date from last year’s postponement, it is one of two KRC events to be run this season. The 2024 edition of River Valley PASS’s biggest race will be run at Port Royal on Saturday, June 29.

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