Austin Dillon wins first NCWTS race on dirt at Eldora
The last time NASCAR held a race on a dirt track was in 1970. Tonight in Ohio, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ran on the Eldora Speedway in the Mudsummer Classic.
Austin Dillon carried out his one piece of NASCAR history on Wednesday night, driving his No. 39 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the win in the Mudsummer Classic NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, the first dirt track race, ever, for the Truck Series and the first dirt race in NASCAR since 1970.
"It's amazing," Dillon said. "I love this dirt racing. It's so much fun. . . . This is real racing, right here."
Kyle Larson finished second in the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet after a close battle at the end with teammate Ryan Newman in the No. 34 Chevrolet in the closing laps. Newman wound up third, despite having brake issues late in the race.
"You really don't need brakes here," Newman said.
Dillon started the 150-lap feature race in the 19th spot, and was up front in time to take the lead from Larson on lap 89. He led the remainder of the race. "We started 19th, so we had to come a long way."
Larson also had to come from outside the top-10 to lead laps. After starting the race from the 13th spot, Larson was running second by lap 36 and took the lead from the No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota of Timothy Peters on lap 39. Larson remained up front until he was passed by Dillon in lap traffic.
"We had the best truck, for sure," Larson said. "I just got over-excited in lap traffic and got in the back of somebody and Austin got by."
While Dillon drove away up front, Larson and Newman battled each other for runner-up honors for several laps late in the race and swapped the position several times, especially on restarts. The yellow flag waved twice in the final 11 laps, with the last caution coming out with two laps to go and leading to a green-white-checker restart to finish the race.
"Just didn't have a good short-run truck," Newman gave as his inability to get by Larson for second in the closing laps.
Joey Coulter finished fourth in the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, and Brendan Gaughan was fifth in the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
The race was split into three segments of 60, 50 and 40 laps in length that followed several qualifying races. Five eight-lap qualifying races, each consisting of seven trucks, set the top-25 of the starting grid, while a 15-lap "last chance" race was held for the 10 drivers who didn't get in through one of the previous qualifying races. Five drivers advanced from the "last chance" race to claim the last five spots on the 30-truck starting grid.
Kenny Schrader, in the No. 52 self-owned Toyota, turned in the fastest lap during a more traditional qualifying session to claim the pole for the first qualifying, or heat, race. He went on to win that race to start the main event from the pole, making him the oldest pole sitter in NASCAR history at the age of 58. Schrader also led the first 15 laps of the main event.
The Sprint Cup Series on dirt? Hmmmm.
Bloomquist finishes disappointing 25th at Eldora