In dirt-track racing, just like everything else, everybody wants to win the first race of the season.But in dirt-track racing, it’s also because of where the season starts.“The prestige of Texas Motor Speedway is the cool thing about it,” driver Shane Herbert said in an interview with the speedway. “So many cars, and so many people watching it — it’s the first race of the year and everybody is amped up ready to race.”The season opener in the P&W Sales SUPR Dirt Late Models Tour is Saturday at the TMS Dirt Track. Practice and qualifying begins at 5 p.m. Friday. Last-chance qualifying and the finals in all three divisions — Late Model, Modifieds, Limited Modifieds — begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.The Late Model winner gets $3,500. TMS said no other victory on the tour pays more than $2,000.Herbert, of Lafayette, La., is the defending champion. He won last year’s Port-A-Cool Texas World Dirt Track Championship and went on to finish third in the series standings.“I like to go fast, and Texas Motor Speedway is big and fast, and it suits my style,” he said.Defending series champion Rob Litton has won the past two series titles and four in all. He was third at TMS last year. He has won twice at TMS, but not in the past five years.“Last year, we were close and kind of felt like we gave it away,” he said. “But we’re definitely coming back looking for win No. 3. It’s a little early to start thinking about another championship. Right now, we just want to win our third at Texas Motor Speedway.”In the modified division, defending champion Rodney Sanders is entered, along with three-time champion Troy Taylor of Fort Worth.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez