Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

July 26, 2013

NASCAR buzzing after Eldora dirt race

INDIANAPOLIS — The NASCAR Truck Series stop at Eldora Speedway this week created a lot of buzz that still hasn’t died down.

The Ohio race was the first for NASCAR on a dirt track since Sept. 30 1970. Some drivers in Indianapolis for this weekend’s Brickyard race were talking Friday about a possible Sprint Cup series race at the track — someday.

Clint Bowyer, who is second in the Sprint Cup Series standings, was part of the broadcast of Wednesday night’s event on Speed TV. A part of him wanted to be in Eldora racing.

“Basically, I was stuck in a cage in there in the Hollywood Hotel with my world racing out there and it was really hard to sit there and watch,” he said. “I thought the racing was good. Everybody was thinking, ‘Man, why is the track so dry-slick?’ It led to good racing.”

Jeff Gordon watched every minute of it, too. Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried. He was on his way to New York and didn’t get to see the finish.

“I had it recorded on my TV and it recorded an hour and a half of it, so I didn’t get to see the last segment,” he said. “It was some kind of communication error. But, that was disappointing to say the least because I had pretty much cut off all contact with anyone who might ruin the outcome for me.”

He never got to see Austin Dillon capture the win. But a sold-out crowd at the half-mile dirt track owned by Tony Stewart saw everything. So did 1.4 million viewers on TV.

But the portion of the race Earnhardt was able to enjoy was enough to make an impact.

“It was entertaining and exciting and something that was something that I hope to see more of,” Earnhardt said. “Just from a viewer’s standpoint.”

The race was a hit for everyone.

“Everywhere I’ve gone this week I’ve had people that are huge NASCAR fans and people that aren’t big NASCAR fans at all that watched it,” Gordon said. “And they were blown away. They did not expect it to go the way that it did.”

And with the excitement that surrounded the race brings up a question: Is there a future at Eldora with NASCAR?

NASCAR officials say they’re hopeful.  Stewart was on hand for the race and wouldn’t mind seeing a future at his track with the series.

“The logical thing is, NASCAR will go back and evaluate how the two days went,” Stewart said after the race. “We, as a company, will do the same thing.”

For his part, Earnhardt would like to see an exhibition race, not a full blown Sprint Cup event. Gordon disagreed.

“You know what I would love to see, a Cup race at Eldora,” Gordon said. “I don’t think you will ever see a Cup race there at least not while I’m driving, but I would certainly vote for it.  I think it would be very cool to do.”

Even if Gordon was still racing, he may not want to drive there, he jokingly said.

“I think I would rather have Kyle Larson drive my car because I thought he was awesome,” he said. “He was unbelievable.”

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