NASCAR Returns to Its Roots of Dirt Racing at Eldora Speedway

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent INovember 28, 2012

ROSSBURG, OH - JUNE 06: Cars race down the back stretch during the Feed the Children Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway on June 6, 2012 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for True Speed Communication)
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

NASCAR racing was born on the dirt tracks scattered around the south. The evolution of the sport took it to concrete and asphalt surfaces, but today it was announced that NASCAR is returning to dirt racing

Tony Stewart, NASCAR champion, team owner and driver, and Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, announced from Las Vegas that the Truck Series would race at Eldora Speedway.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race at the .5-mile dirt track owned by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Stewart on July 24.

Stewart stated, "It has been one of the hardest things not to talk about I think in my entire racing career."

He continued, "I've always joked around and people say, What would you do if you could change the racing?  I always joke around about saying, I would add a dirt race."

This will be the second NCWTS race scheduled on a Wednesday night with the other being at Bristol Motor Speedway August 21.

The Wednesday night scheduling at Eldora will allow drivers from many series to take part in the race. It is expected that Cup, Nationwide, USAC, World of Outlaws and late model drivers will look to land a ride.

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The race will be held during Brickyard week, which should be a plus for the Eldora track, which is in Rossburg, Ohio, about a two-hour drive from Indianapolis.

Testing was done more than a year ago under less than ideal conditions. Austin Dillon had the honor of being the first driver to hit the track with a truck. Stewart was the other driver participating in the test.

Details regarding the race format, pit stops and length of the main race are still under discussion. Goodyear will continue to provide tires under the Wrangler brand with different tread. It will be a 30-truck field.

Safety issues have been scrutinized, and it was determined SAFER barriers were not needed. There will be some modifications to the entrance and exit of the pit area and inside the track.

The basic change to the trucks themselves will be the removal of the splitter that would tend to dig into the ground.

Stewart would like to participate in the race but stated, "As a track owner, I feel a lot of responsibility to make sure everything is going as planned and doing everything we can to ensure a great show."

In addition to the trucks racing at Eldora, it was announced the NCWTS would also head to a road course at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, a 2.459-mile, 10-turn course in Bowmanville, Ont. on Sept 1.

Quotes and information courtesy of official NASCAR press release and teleconference transcript.