Tomorrow night is one of the most anticipated races of the season, arguably right behind the Daytona 500. The Eldora Dirt Derby, formerly the Mud-Summer Classic, is the only dirt track race in the Nascar’s major three series. Beginning in 2013, the Camping World Truck Series began racing at the historic Eldora Speedway, which houses many major dirt track races including the World of Outlaws’ King’s Royal Race.
For those who have never seen dirt track racing and may not find auto racing very enjoyable, dirt track racing is a completely different animal! On asphalt racing, it’s all about hitting your marks, keeping your car clean and keeping as straight as possible. In dirt track racing, cars get sideways in the corners, cars constantly make contact with other cars and the walls, and cars using multiple racing lines in the corners.
Not only do truck series regulars race this event, many part-time teams recruit stud dirt track racers in order to maximize their performance at a track where driver skill is more important than the quality of their truck. For those who have watched the race the previous three years, dirt regular Bobby Pierce has nearly won the race driving for Mittler Bros. Racing, one of the lower teams in quality of racing equipment in the series. Unfortunately Bobby Pierce will not be racing this year due to a schedule conflict with the series he races in full-time.
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Dirt track regulars entered in this year’s race includes JR Heffner (who won a Heat Race in 2014), Braden Mitchell, Max McLaughlin (son of former driver Mike McLaughlin), potential winner Logan Seavey, who’s driving for Kyle Busch, Chris Windom, and Kyle Strickler, who is driving for the Mittler Brothers.
There are two Cup Series driving also entered, Ryan Newman, a former USAC champion who raced in the inaugural Eldora race, and Ty Dillon, who’s brother Austin won the inaugural race in an epic battle with Kyle Larson.
Now I know NASCAR isn’t everyone’s favorite sport, but take a few moments to enjoy this different product of racing with a wide variety of driving backgrounds battle it out on the dirt, 4-wide!
Time for a Rant
In 2016, Major League Baseball threatened a suit with NASCAR over the name of the Eldora Race. Originally named, the Mudsummer Classic, MLB thought it was too close to their All-Star Game nickname of the Midsummr Classic. MLB thought the names would cause confusion to their fans, assumingly with both events taking place on Fox Sports channels.
Now we all know a coherent human being who would tune and see truck racing on a dirt track and say to them self, “well that’s not baseball,” and moves on with their day. This is all because the all mighty dollar. MLB doesn’t want NASCAR to make any money off a race name that isn’t even the NAME OF MLBS All Star GAME. NASCAR marketing for once hit s home run, pun intended, with the name of this new event and MLB decided they didn’t want to go along with the fun.