BOOM OR DUST? Nascar returns to dirt at Eldora

On a hot, steamy Wednesday night, Nascar made history. For the first time since 1970, a Nascar National Series raced on dirt. The Camping World Truck Series traveled to the small town of Rossburg, Ohio to race on the historic Eldora Speedway, home of some of the biggest dirt races in the country. The track drew a sell-out crowd, and millions more tuned into the Speed Channel for a chance to watch history. Nationwide regular Austin Dillon won the race, holding off Nationwide rookie Kyle Larson as well as Cup driver Ryan Newman. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the CarCash Mudsummer Classic.

1. Kenny Schrader makes history

Schrader is all smiles after winning the Keystone Light Pole. Image credit goes to Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

Nascar veteran Kenny Schrader made history by becoming the oldest pole winner in the history of the sport. 58 years young, Schrader snagged the top spot in qualifying and immediately backed it up with a win in the first heat race of the night. The semiretired Cup Series veteran eventually finished 14th in the main event, but throughout the night you could tell that he was having the time of his life.

2. Norm Benning is the Man of the Hour

That’s probably the first and last time you’ll ever hear that being said. 61-year old Norm Benning is a Camping World Series staple, competing week in and week out in his unsponsored truck. He’s respected in the garage for doing the best he can in his sub-par equipment, but he has never come close to winning a race. But in a wild Last-Chance Race to make the filed at Eldora, Benning was the star, holding off part-timer Clay Greenfield for the final transfer spot in the race.When he got out of the car, Benning was mobbed by crew members and fans alike, congratulating him on his accomplishment. It was a feel-good story on one very special night.

 

The legendary Scott Bloomquist couldn’t conquer Eldora speedway in a truck.
Credit: Getty Images

3. Dirt ringers have an off night

It speaks volumes about the level of competition in the Truck Series that none of the dirt track regulars entered in the race were able to contend for the win. One of the most disappointing finishers was Scott Bloomquist. Bloomquist, who has won over 500 dirt track events, went down a lap early and never recovered, ending up 25th. Bloomquist was trying a radical suspension that involved removing the front sway bar. Obviously, it didn’t work. Other dirt ringers also disappointed. Late model racers Jeff Babcock and J.R. Heffner fell out early with mechanical issues, while veteran dirt racer Joe Cobb finished well out of the running in his 2009 Dodge Ram. One pleasant surprise was Jared Landers, who ran well inside the top 10 until an incident with Ty Dillon ended his chances at a good finish.

4. Sauter tumbles in the points

Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Toyota Tundra, got caught up in the incident with Landers and Dillon and eventually took his truck to the garage. Unfortunately for him, this cost him big-time in the standings. Sauter was right behind Ty Dillon in the points standings entering the race. But now, Johnny is tied for 5th in the standings with Timothy Peters, and is just one point ahead of Ryan Blaney and Brendan Gaughan, who are tied for 7th. The championship battle just got a whole lot more interesting.

Sauter and Ty Dillon fought hard during the feature as well as in the 8 lap heat race preceding it. Image Credit goes to Getty Images

 

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