Racing fans around the country are probably asking themselves this question right now. The simple answer is: Yes, but only if the calendar reads May 24th. Otherwise, the speedway in South Carolina will be closed due to being frozen over.
When the temperatures are rising and the ice is starting to thin, you can bet your bottom dollar that the cars will be running at Port Royal. And when we say cars, we mean it literally. The place is famous for its drag races that literally tear up the tarmac as fast cars are hurtling towards each other at astonishing speeds. If you like cars and you like racing, then the question is, will you be there tonight? We certainly were and it was everything as advertised. This is what it is like at a typical Port Royal drag race: InCRUSHinG!
But before we get to the good stuff, let us walk you through some of the historic events that made this place famous in the first place.
The Birthplace Of Drag Racing
It all started back in 1968 when some of the wealthiest men in America purchased an abandoned brick factory in nearby Cayce, South Carolina. They then proceeded to drag race their cars down the long and winding roads surrounding the place. The first official drag race was held in March 1969, which attracted more than 10,000 fans (the size of the current population of Cayce). When asked about the genesis of his famous ‘Trackday’ program, Chip Ganassi, owner of the luxury auto racing team, noted that his employees were the ones who initially came up with the idea of drag racing as a means of promoting product awareness. In other words, they wanted to have fun and they wanted to promote cars. And so, the unofficial ‘drag day’ was born, which eventually became an annual event and is still going strong today. In total, there are about ten drag races held at Port Royal each year, which draws an average of about 250,000 fans. It is the largest single-day sporting event in the area.
Three Feet Of Snow
Although it is a question of when, not if, the white stuff is going to start falling in abundance in the South Carolina area, nobody knows exactly when. However, the snow gods have been kind enough to keep us in suspense for as long as possible and the season of spring is upon us. One thing is for sure: As soon as the temperatures start rising past the freezing point, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Port Royal speedway is going to start hopping. If you are planning on going tonight, then you better get your skates and ski boots ready, because this is when the fun starts and it does not stop for the entire season.
When somebody says ‘sports car’ or ‘open-air concert’ or ‘NASCAR’ or ‘drag racing’ to you, what do you think of immediately? Of course, you think of luxury, speed, and competition. Well, you are going to get all three tonight at the trackside amenities at Port Royal. The place is bordered by the swamp on one side and a creek on the other, so there is not exactly something glamorous about the setting, but the trackside features that make up for it. There is a barber pole outside the grandstand entrance and about a hundred Christmas trees around the infield. If you are not into drinking beer and you are looking for a place to eat, then there is a pizza parlor, ice cream shop, and fried chicken joint at the entrance to the track. There is also a souvenir shop, which sells everything from snow globes to sweatshirts, and Ty Beanie hats.
The Spectator Experience
One of the best things about going to a place like Port Royal is that even from the beginning, the organizers put a lot of effort into making sure that the spectators have a good time. This is especially important because the races can get really messy and they can also get dangerous, so the safety of the fans is of paramount concern. During the first few years of the tradition, there were no fences, no gates, and no security cameras. The races were practically open to anyone. Well, anyone except for the occasional miscreant, who either had too much to drink or was just plain stupid and crashed into something. These days, the races are carefully prepared and there is always someone on hand to help the spectators enjoy themselves. While most places try to keep the races as close to their original format as possible, the organizers at Port Royal have taken the liberty to update it a little bit to make it more appealing to a worldwide audience. Still, it is pretty much a tradition at this point, so don’t expect any radical changes anytime soon. Just something to tide you over until the next race.
The Racing Experience
The whole purpose of going to a place like Port Royal is to get into the car and feel the wind in your hair as you rush down the track. For that reason, we recommend getting there early. The earlier you get there, the better your odds of getting a good seat. It is also imperative that you bring a valid ID and that you prepare yourself to buy alcoholic beverages. (Hey, it’s Carolina.) Once you get inside the gates, you will be overwhelmed by the sound of engines revving and tires screeching as the cars go around the track. It is going to be quite an experience, we guarantee it.
So if you want to have a good time tonight, then you have come to the right place. The Port Royal speedway has been serving the community for more than 50 years and has been putting on some of the most incredible spectacles of auto racing. With about ten races per season and 250,000 spectators per month, it is quite apparent that this place is a mecca for fans of cars and racing. If you have never been there, then you absolutely must go. Otherwise, you are going to miss out on an incredible experience. And if you are going tonight, then you better start practising your jumps, because this year is going to be unforgettable.