So there was another race on Sunday, and in the end one of the “Big 3” this season took victory. To the surprise of no one, this was expected.
Rather than babble on about the race again, my focus this week is on another race that happened prior to Sunday. Actually, it was a midweek thriller that was the talk. It’s a true stand-alone event for NASCAR, because it’s unlike anything they do during the season.
In fact, aside from the throwback weekend at Darlington that happens on Labor Day Weekend, this is my favorite race of the year.
The Truck Series for the last six years have gotten to do something that ties directly back to the roots of the sport, and no other series does it. When it was announced, fans were so excited for it, the first sell-out show of the entire year for any of the top three series in NASCAR was this track. Ever since, it’s been a destination that pretty much is along the lines of being as popular as the Daytona 500, or even the season-finale at Homestead.
It works perfectly for the trucks…because the average person that owns a truck isn’t gonna be hitting the pavement. They will put it to work, hauling lumber, concrete, pull shrubs or trees out of the ground.
All these have one thing in common: the truck gets dirty.
The Camping World Truck Series has its most popular race be a stand-alone event at the Eldora Speedway, a track owned by Tony Stewart and has been in operation for decades. This is a historic dirt track that for a few years, hosted a popular charity race for some of NASCAR’s best, the “Prelude to the Dream” that was a preview of the “Dirt Dream” late model race held the same weekend. But, six years ago, NASCAR took a chance, and decided to bring a top-tier series to run at this place, and truly kick up dust.
The verdict: complete success.
Every driver had to adjust to running on a dirt track compared to their normal ovals, hanging out the right-rear corner like a late model, and realizing the idea of a “groove” on a dirt track is either trying to hug the bottom or ride the cushion at the top, flirting with the wall. Driving on dirt is the only time a driver is having to turn right in order to turn left.
It has become probably the most popular race of the season, and draws in a lot of attention from every fan, crew, driver, and media member. It’s for good reason, because the mix of regulars, dirt specialists, and even Cup drivers wanting a taste of the dirt themselves.
The Eldora Dirt Derby has become one of my bucket list races to attend. It will quite possibly be the only race that I’d go to when it comes to NASCAR where I’d also bring some safety goggles and a dust mask.
However, it certainly would be worth it.
STAGE 1: Martin Truex Jr.
STAGE 2: Chase Elliott
RESULTS: 1-Harvick 2-Kyle Busch 3-Almirola 4-Truex Jr. 5-Elliott 6-Newman 7-Blaney 8-Kurt Busch 9-Logano 10-Johnson
NOTABLE FINISHES: 14-Byron 16-Jones 21-Dillon 35-Bowyer
CAUTIONS: 7 for 31 laps. Lap 16-18 (#00 Spin-T3); 21-24 (#47 Incident-T1 and T2); 37-39 (Competition Caution); 53-55 (Debris-FS); 77-82 (End of Stage 1); 152-158 (End of Stage 2); 258-262 (#14 Incident-T3).
LEAD CHANGES: 10 among 7 drivers. Kurt Busch 1-37; R. Stenhouse Jr. 38-48; M. Truex Jr. 49-131; C. Elliott 132-154; Kurt Busch 155-211; A. Almirola 212-228; K. Harvick 229-232; A. Almirola 233-257; K. Harvick 258; Kyle Busch 259-294; K. Harvick 295-301.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 52 Mins, 56 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 110.490 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.877 Seconds
POINTS (Earned/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Kyle Busch, 844 ; 2. Harvick, -53 ; 3. Truex Jr, -104 ; 4. Logano, -165 ; 5. Kurt Busch, -198 ; 6. Bowyer, -206 ; 7. Keselowski, -209 ; 8. Larson, -238; 9. Blaney, -260 ; 10. Hamlin, -261 ; 14. Jones, -343 ; 19. Dillon, -466 .