Rossburg, OH – Austin Dillon won the first-ever dirt race in the Camping World Truck Series on Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway after holding off Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman in a pair of late-race restarts.
Dillon, who competed in his first truck race since winning the series championship in 2011, charged through field after starting 19th and took the lead from Larson on lap 89.
This 150-lap, 75-mile race was divided into three segments. Dillon held the lead when the second segment concluded. During final 40-lap portion, Larson passed him for the top spot, but Dillon quickly pulled ahead of Larson just before a caution came for a multi-truck accident involving Ty Dillon (Austin's younger brother), Jared Landers, who made his first truck start, and Johnny Sauter.
"We started 19th and had to come from a long way," Dillon said. "My truck could turn a little earlier in the middle and have drive, so that's where I could pass."
Dillon led the final 31 laps. Two cautions for debris occurred during the final 15 laps, with the second caution setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
After the final restart, Dillon pulled away from the field, while Larson and Newman had a fierce battle for the second position. Dillon crossed the finish line 1.2 seconds ahead of Larson.
Driving the No. 39 Chevrolet for RSS Racing in this race, Dillon scored his fifth career truck win. He is in his second full season in Nationwide Series competition this year.
"It's amazing," he said. "I love this dirt racing. It's so much fun. To get a win like this is awesome. This is real racing right here. That's all I've got to say."
The truck race at Eldora was the first time in nearly 43 years a NASCAR national touring series event was held at a dirt track. The last time a major NASCAR race ran on dirt occurred on Sept. 30, 1970. Richard Petty won the Home State 200 at the one-mile State Fairgrounds Speedway in Raleigh, N.C.
Larson is a rookie in Nationwide this season. He won a truck race for the first time in April at Rockingham, N.C.
"I knew we had the best truck, and I was trying hard for the win, but I came up a little bit short," Larson said. "It would have been nice to win the first race here."
Newman, a Sprint Cup Series regular, finished a close third, while Joey Coulter and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-five.
"My truck was really good on the long runs, but we didn't have it there at the end," Newman said. "It was a lot of fun, and I wish we could have won."
Timothy Peters, who won the most recent truck race earlier this month at Iowa, finished sixth, followed by rookie Darrell Wallace Jr., Matt Crafton, the current points leader, Dave Blaney, also a Sprint Cup regular, and Max Gresham.
Earlier in the evening, Ken Schrader won qualifying and then led all eight laps for the victory in the first of five heat races, which determined the starting lineup for this event. At age 58, Schrader became the oldest driver to win a pole for a NASCAR national series race. He led the first 15 laps but faded from there to finish 14th.
Scott Bloomquist, who made his truck debut driving the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, struggled in both qualifying and the race, as he started 21st and finished two laps behind in 25th. Bloomquist, 49, has scored over 500 dirt late model victories in more than 1,400 career starts.
Crafton widened his points lead to 48 over rookie Jeb Burton, who finished 18th.