NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams are looking forward to racing on dirt this week in the Eldora Dirt Derby on Wednesday, July 19th at 9:30 pm ET at Eldora Speedway. Coverage is on FOX Business, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio starting at 9 pm ET.
Drivers will race 75 miles over 150 laps with Stage 1 ending on lap 40, Stage 2 on lap 90 and the last stage ending on the last lap 150.
The House that Tony Stewart Built
Eldora Speedway is a half-mile dirt racing facility located in western Ohio. The facility is owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart. Stewart, an Indiana native, purchased the neighboring state dirt track from Earl Baltes in 2004.
Eldora Speedway has hosted four Camping World Truck Series since the 2013 season.
In those four races, there have been four different winners.
Starting with the most recent, below are the four Camping World Truck Series winners at Eldora Speedway:
Kyle Larson 07/20/2016
Christopher Bell 07/22/2015
Darrell Wallace Jr. 07/23/2014
Austin Dillon 07/24/2013
Three of the four Eldora Speedway winners are now full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers or have made starts in the series this season. Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) both have Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins this season and have qualified for the playoffs, while Darrell Wallace Jr. spent time in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford filling in for the injured Aric Almirola.
Christopher Bell, who won at Eldora in 2015, is a rising NASCAR star with five career Camping World Truck Series wins. He has also made two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts this season.
One thing to watch this week at Eldora? The finish. Over the last two Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora, the margin of victory has been nearly identical.
In 2016, Larson beat out Bell by 0.767 of a second.
In 2015, Bell edged out Bobby Pierce by 0.761 of a second in the closest margin of victory in track history in the Camping World Truck Series.
A Guide to Eldora
Eldora’s qualifying and race formats differ from the knockout qualifying seen weekly in the Camping World Truck series. Below is a guide to how it works.
At Eldora, a random draw determines the qualifying order for two-lap, single-truck qualifying that determines the starting positions for the qualifying races (five races in total). The fastest qualifier earns the Keystone Light Pole Award.
Each of the five qualifying races consists of ten laps, with only green-flag laps counting. The top-five trucks in the two-lap qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races. The lineups for the qualifying races are filled based on qualifying speeds (sixth competes in the first qualifying race, seventh in the second, eighth in the third, etc.)
The top-five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the race. Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the Camping World Truck Series race.
When the five qualifying races are completed, there will be a last-chance qualifying race. The lineup will be based on finishing position from the qualifying races and the race will be 15 laps with only green flag laps counting. The top-two finishers transfer to the race, where they will start in positions 26-27.
The 28th-31st starting positions go to the highest-ranking eligible trucks in owner points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying.
The 32nd starting position goes to the most recent eligible past series champion; if that position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned based upon owner points.
The race will be 150 laps divided into three stages: Stage 1 ends on lap 40, Stage 2 ends on lap 90, and the Final Stage ends on lap 150. During the competition cautions at the stage breaks on lap 40 and lap 90, caution laps will not count and positions cannot be improved on pit road.
Teams are not required to pit during the competition cautions. Those teams that do not choose to pit may stay on the track and start in front of the pitting teams.
Bell Looking to Ring in Pay Dirt at Eldora
Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell is widely considered a dirt dynamo. He grew up in Oklahoma and got his start in racing with sprint cars in 2011. In 2013, Bell won the USAC National Midget Championship and in 2014, he won 24 Quarter Midget races and 26 total dirt races, including the Turkey Night Grand Prix.
In 2015, Bell appeared in seven Camping World Truck Series races with Kyle Busch Motorsports and won his first career race at … Eldora Speedway.
Bell got a full-time Camping World Truck Series ride with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2016 and would prove how good he is on dirt tracks as he finished second at Eldora to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson.
During the 2016 NASCAR offseason, in what’s highly regarded as the “Super Bowl of midget racing,” Bell won the 2017 Chili Bowl Nationals.
When asked about his career thus far after winning his third Camping World Truck Series race this season last Thursday at Kentucky, Bell was proud that he’s been able to race cars at all levels and be successful.
“Being successful in multiple cars is something I’ve felt like I’ve done my entire career and I want to continue that. It’s why Kyle Larson is where is he is today because he’s won in everything he’s got in. I want to continue that for my personal goals – to continue to win in everything I drive.”
When asked if he has an advantage at Eldora in a Camping World Truck Series truck, Bell was not shy in his answer.
“Eldora is different. The trucks are hard to drive. I enjoy it because I have an advantage whenever I go there over the other guys. I call it the week of Eldora now because I’ve been able to run the Kings Royal before the truck race. The week of Eldora is my second favorite week of the year besides the Chili Bowl.”
Listen to the audio from that post-race media availability.
Bell will be looking for his second career Camping World Truck Series win at Eldora Speedway this Wednesday and his third-consecutive top-two finish.
Briscoe Hoping to Dig Deep at Eldora
Brad Keselowski Racing driver Chase Briscoe will be racing close to home this week at Eldora Speedway. Briscoe, a native of Mitchell, Indiana, is looking for his first career Camping World Truck Series win when he makes his series debut at Eldora Wednesday night.
In a NASCAR teleconference with fellow Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell, Briscoe was eager to make his debut at a dirt track he visited frequently as a kid.
“This is the one track I have been looking forward to racing at more than any. I have been going there ever since I was little. Eldora is a Daytona or Indianapolis for us dirt guys, it will definitely be an honor for us come Wednesday.”
Listen to the audio from that teleconference.
Briscoe is a co-leader in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings with ThorSport Racing driver Grant Enfinger. The two are tied at 125 points apiece heading into the Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora.
Briscoe has had a strong Sunoco Rookie campaign through ten races this season. He has four top-fives, five top-tens, two Keystone Light Poles and has led 105 laps. Briscoe has yet to finish outside the top-25 this season.
He now sits third in the Camping World Truck Series points standings.
Reigning Champion Looking to Enjoy Eldora
Defending Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter is having another championship-like run through ten races this season.
Sauter has one win (Dover), seven top-fives, nine top-tens and 316 laps led. He has yet to finish outside the top-15 this season.
But there’s one thing that the champ has yet to master… dirt.
In his four Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora Speedway, Sauter has finished 13th (2016), 22nd (2015), eighth (2014) and 29th (2013).
This year, Sauter is looking to have fun at the Camping World Truck Series’ only stop at a dirt track. When asked about his mindset going into Eldora, he responded:
“Eldora is a little bit of a different situation for me. I have fun at Eldora, it’s a great atmosphere with a lot of good fans. My mindset there is to have fun. If we can stay out of trouble, we could be there in the end.”
But just because he’s looking to have fun at Eldora, doesn’t mean he’s not going to compete and is preparing for the Camping World Truck Series race at the dirt track. Sauter was preparing by going to a local dirt-track near his home in Wisconsin.
“This week for the first time ever, I have taken it upon myself to try and gear up a dirt car, it’s a street stock. I live in Wisconsin so there’s a dirt track called Beaver Dam Raceway that’s a half-mile track. I want to go over there for four or five hours on Sunday. I can honestly say this is my way of getting prepared on my own.”
Sauter will be looking for his first-career Camping World Truck Series win at Eldora Speedway when he takes his Chevrolet Silverado to the dirt Wednesday night.
Eldora Speedway Quick Facts
As the Camping World Truck Series heads to Eldora Speedway below are some series quick facts at the dirt track:
Pole Winners: 4
Youngest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (07/23/2014 – 18 years, 1 month, 23 days)
Oldest Pole Winner: Ken Schrader (07/24/2013 – 58 years, 1 months, 25 days)
Race Winners: 4
Youngest Winner: Christopher Bell (07/22/2015 – 20 years, 7 months, 6 days)
Oldest Winner: Kyle Larson (07/20/2016 – 23 years, 6 months, 50 days)
Races Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): 0
Race Record: Austin Dillon 67.401 mph (07/24/2013)
Qualifying Record: Ken Schrader 91.329 mph (07/24/2013)
First Time Diggers at Eldora
There are nine Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Eldora Speedway in Wednesday’s Camping World Truck Series race. They include Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.
One current Camping World Truck Series driver won his first career win at Eldora – Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christopher Bell (07/22/2015).
Over the last three Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway, there have been three drivers who have won their first career pole at Eldora.
They include Caleb Holman (07/20/2016), Bobby Pierce (07/22/2015) and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and former Camping World Truck Series Champion (2015) Erik Jones (07/23/2014).
Familiar Faces Running Eldora
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Dillon headlines a group of non-Camping World Truck Series regulars making starts this week at Eldora Speedway.
Dillon will be running in the No. 99 K&L Ready Mix Chevrolet for Matthew Miller at Eldora and will be looking for his first Camping World Truck Series win there. Dillon has three career Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora and has one top-five and two top-tens.
Bobby Pierce will be making his third career Camping World Truck Series start at Eldora and has been successful in his last two runs there.
He finished a career-best second at Eldora Speedway in 2015 in his first career Camping World Truck Series start there.
Dirt ace Rico Abreu will make his first Camping World Truck Series start this season at Eldora. Abreu made his track debut in the Camping World Truck Series at Eldora last season and finished third after starting 27th.
Blast from the Past
Camping World Truck Series racing at Eldora Speedway remains a popular and special race on the calendar each season for multiple reasons.
It’s the only Camping World Truck Series race run at a dirt track and its unique qualifying format makes it’s a must-watch for racing fans.
Both of those reasons combined for a big one in 2013 thanks to Norm Benning when the Camping World Truck Series made its inaugural trip to Eldora Speedway.
In 2013 at Eldora Speedway, Benning had to race his way into the Camping World Truck Series main event by finishing in the top-five during the qualifying races to earn a transfer spot.
Benning took fifth in the last chance heat race and provided fans and Camping World Truck Series competitors alike with excitement as he battled Clay Greenfield in the final laps. Both drivers raced hard, but Benning was able to use the outside wall on the final lap to get around and beat Greenfield. Watch a video of the moment.
With his truck receiving some damage due to his battle in the qualifying race, crew members from other teams assisted Benning in repairing the truck for the main Camping World Truck Series event.
Benning would go on to finish 26th in the race, but the thrill of an underdog racing his way into the main Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora proved to be true in the first NASCAR national series event at the dirt track.