New Weston, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Camping World Truck Series is racing on the dirt again on Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway.
This will be the second time trucks compete at Eldora, a half-mile dirt track owned by three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. The Mudsummer Classic is the only race on the NASCAR national series schedule (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck) that is contested on dirt.
Last year's truck race at Eldora marked the first time in nearly 43 years a NASCAR national touring series event was held on a dirt track. The last major NASCAR race ran on dirt had been on Sept. 30, 1970 when Richard Petty won the Home State 200 at the one-mile State Fairgrounds Speedway in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Austin Dillon won the inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora in 2013. Dillon, who made his first truck start since winning the series championship in 2011, charged through the field after starting 19th and took the lead from Kyle Larson on lap 89.
Larson reclaimed the lead on lap 122, but Dillon pulled ahead of him on the following lap and ran in front for good. A caution for debris in the closing laps set up a green-white-checkered finish. Dillon held off Larson in the last two laps, beating him to the finish line by 1.2 seconds.
"Eldora Speedway is a special place," Dillon said. "Wining the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race there last year was probably one of the most memorable wins of my career so far. The track means so much to me because of my dirt racing background. It was a lot of fun, and the track did some really cool things, such as letting each member of the team scoop up a piece of dirt from the track and keep it. They gave me a gold shovel, which was a really cool thing as well. I also got to take my picture with Richard Petty since he was the last driver before me to win on dirt."
Dillon and Larson are battling for the rookie-of-the-year title in Sprint Cup this season, but both drivers are competing in the truck race at Eldora again. Dillon will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, and Larson will be behind the wheel of the No. 32 Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports. Dillon's younger brother, Ty, a rookie in Nationwide this season, is piloting the No. 3 Chevrolet for RCR.
Larson is no stranger to dirt racing. He was competing on dirt in the sprint car circuit when he was 14 years old. After winning the World of Outlaw Spring Car Gold Cup at age 15, Larson went on to sweep the Belleville Midget Nationals. At 19, he became one of just two drivers to sweep the USAC 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora, scoring three wins in one night. The 21-year old has a total of four victories at this track, and on Wednesday, he's hoping to make it five.
"I'm really pumped to get back on dirt this week," Larson said. "Last year was a lot of fun, and we really should've won. So this year, I'm more excited than ever to get it done. My Turner Scott Motorsports team and I did some testing a few weeks ago, and I feel really good about our chances to win this thing.
"Dirt racing is obviously a huge passion of mine, getting dirty, sweating and having mud all over my face is just in my blood. I've had some good times at Eldora in a sprint car, and it would be cool to get a win here in a truck."
The Mudsummer Classic will be a total of 150 laps, divided into three segments of 60-50-40 laps. There are competition cautions at the breaks on lap 60 and lap 110. Caution laps will not count during the competition cautions, and positions cannot be improved on pit road. Teams are not required to pit during the competition cautions. Those teams that do not elect to pit may remain on the track and start in front of the pitting teams.
Qualifying and race procedures for Eldora is different than any other event on the Truck Series schedule. This event will feature a traditional two-lap qualifying session, five qualifying races (10 laps each), one last-chance race (15 laps) and a champion's provisional to determine the 30-truck starting field. The current top-20 in owners' points will have a guaranteed starting position.
Thirty-four teams are on the preliminary entry list for the 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic.
Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Wednesday, July 23. Race: 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic. Site: Eldora Speedway. Track: 0.5-mile high-banked dirt oval. Start time: 9 p.m. ET. Laps: 150. Miles: 75. 2013 Winner: Austin Dillon. Television: FOX Sports 1. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.