NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES
The Race: Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby
The Place: Eldora Speedway
The Date: Wednesday, July 20
The Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 75 miles (150 laps); Segments of 40-50-60 laps
A Guide To Eldora
Eldora’s qualifying and race formats differ from the knockout qualifying seen weekly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. Below is a guide to how it works.
At Eldora, two-lap, single-truck qualifying determines the starting position for the qualifying races (five in total). A random draw determines the qualifying order with the fastest qualifier earning the Keystone Light Pole Award.
Each of the five qualifying races last 10 laps each with only green-flag laps counting. The top-five trucks in the two-lap qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races. The lineups for the qualifying races are filled based on qualifying speeds (sixth competes in the first qualifying race, seventh in the second, eighth in the third, etc.)
The top-five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the race. Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the Aspen Dental Dirt Derby.
When the five qualifying races are completed, there will be a last-chance qualifying race. The lineup will be based on finishing position from the qualifying races and the race will be 15 laps with only green flag laps counted. The top-two finishers transfer to the race where they will start in positions 26-27.
The 28th-31st starting positions go to the highest-ranking eligible trucks in owner points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying.
The 32nd starting position goes to the most recent eligible past series champion; if position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned based upon owner points.
The race will be 150 laps divided into three segments of 40, 50 and 60 laps with competition cautions at the breaks on Lap 40 and Lap 90. 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.
There is no caution clock for the Eldora race.
Dirt Aces Prepare For Eldora With Kings Royal
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers, and open-wheel dirt standouts, Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell both competed in the 33rd annual Kings Royal sprint car races at Eldora Speedway over the weekend in preparation for Wednesday’s Aspen Dental Dirt Derby at the Tony Stewart-owned track (9 p.m. ET on FS1).
Abreu finished second in the A-Main, while Bell placed 21st after a late-race wreck.
At 14th on the Chase Grid (54 points below the cutoff line), Abreu essentially needs to win to get into the Chase. Eldora could be the spot as the two-time defending Chili Bowl Nationals champion is one of the best dirt racers in the world.
“I’ve struggled reading asphalt tracks this year,” Abreu said. “My sponsor, Safelite, is based in Columbus (Ohio), so there will be a lot of people there supporting me and my ThorSport Racing team, so my plan is to have some fun, and hopefully it’ll be a good opportunity to get in the Chase.”
Abreu’s dirt highlights include: 2015 and 2016 Chili Bowl Nationals winner, 2015 Pepsi Nationals winner, 2014 USAC Midget National champion, 2013 and 2014 Johnny Key Classic winner, 2013 4 Crown Nationals Winner at Eldora Speedway, and 2013 and 2014 Belleville Midget Nationals winner.
Bell ranks fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase Grid and is virtually guaranteed a spot in the playoffs by virtue of his win at Gateway. He claims one victory, four top fives and six top 10s in 10 starts this season. He is the defending winner of the Aspen Dental Dirt Derby.
In 2015, Bell tallied six POWRi Midget wins, two USAC National Midget wins, one USAC Silver Crown win and his second career World of Outlaws Sprint Car victory. In 2013, he was the 2013 USAC National Midget champion.
Six races remain until the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase. Currently, five drivers are virtually guaranteed berths since they have won a race, but that could change if there are more than eight winners. The berths would then be determined by number of wins, followed by points.
Through the first 10 races, the Chase Grid reads as follows: William Byron (4 wins), Matt Crafton (2 wins), Johnny Sauter (1 win), John Hunter Nemechek (1 win), Christopher Bell (1 win), Daniel Hemric (43 points ahead of Ben Kennedy on the cutoff line), Timothy Peters (+43) and Tyler Reddick (+14).
The following drivers are on the outside of the Chase Grid looking in: Ben Kennedy (14 points behind Tyler Reddick on the cutoff line), Ben Rhodes (-16), Cameron Hayley (-23), Spencer Gallagher (-24) and Cole Custer (-26).
Reddick: “Running Well At Eldora Would Mean A Lot To Me”
For Tyler Reddick, a 20-year-old who began his career racing on dirt, Eldora Speedway means more than a change of scenery.
“Running well at Eldora would mean a lot to me, since I have a dirt racing background,” he said. “I’ve spent time there racing dirt late models before moving up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.”
In fact, Reddick holds the title of youngest driver to start a World 100 from the pole at Eldora. He scored a third-place finish in last year’s Aspen Dental Dirt Derby and an 11th-place showing in the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Eldora race.
“Qualifying and where we start the [qualifying] race is important,” Reddick noted. “A lot of it is going to be luck right off the bat with the qualifying draw. The higher number we draw puts us toward the end of qualifying and makes it harder for us to put in a good qualifying lap. In the past, Eldora has been a one-day show, but this year is a little different. We’re going to have two different practice sessions the night before our race. I don’t think the track is going to get as dry in practice as it may have in the past when we practiced in the daytime. It’s going to be harder for everyone to get their trucks dialed in.”
Reddick currently holds the final position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase by 12 points over Ben Kennedy. He has three top fives and six top 10s in 10 starts this season.
Dirt Devil: Larson Set To Run For GMS At Eldora
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Larson will compete at Eldora in the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet.
A dirt-racing phenom growing up, Larson won the 2014 Crown Nationals, becoming only the second driver to triumph in all three USAC cars in a single night.
Larson competed in the first two editions of the Aspen Dental Dirt Derby, finishing runner-up in 2013 and 26th in 2014.
In 11 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, the NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity (operated by Rev Racing) alum, claims one win (Rockingham, 2013), five top fives and eight top 10s.
Pierce Returns To Eldora After Breakout 2015 Performance
Christopher Bell might’ve won the 2015 Aspen Dental Dirt Derby, but Bobby Pierce was just as much the story.
In his first ever NASCAR start, Pierce captured the 21 Means 21 Keystone Light Pole Award at Eldora and battled back-and-forth with Bell the entire race to a runner-up finish.
Also an experienced dirt racer (see a trend), Pierce won the 2015 UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals championship and the 2014 UMP DIRTcar Late Model points championship.
Pierce’s runner-up showing was the best-ever finish for Missouri-based MB Motorsports – the only team to compete in every season of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. MB Motorsports has helped matriculate Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Regan Smith, Justin Allgaier and Brad Keselowski.
Pierce has made three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this year.
Byron Goes For Rookie Wins Record In Dirt Debut
William Byron couldn’t have planned his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie season any better through the first 10 races of 2016.
The 18-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina, native paces the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in points (+13 above second-place Matt Crafton, wins (4), average start (5.6), average finish (9.0) and driver rating (113.7). He ranks second to two-time series champion Matt Crafton in fastest laps (182, Crafton has 212), and laps led (357, Crafton has 398).
Byron has 13 more races to gain sole possession of the rookie wins record held by him and Kurt Busch (2000), beginning with Wednesday’s Aspen Dental Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway. The No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota driver has never competed on dirt, but had his mom drive him to Chattanooga, Tennessee, following the Kentucky race two weeks ago.
Furthermore, Byron has three wins in his last four races, while KBM has visited Victory Lane in the last four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series contests (Texas: Byron, Iowa: Byron, Gateway: Christopher Bell, Kentucky: Byron).
Byron’s performance through the first 10 races compares favorably to last year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Erik Jones, a fellow Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, whose crew chief was also Rudy Fugle. Jones had one win, six top fives and seven top 10s through the first 10 races, compared to Byron’s four wins, five top fives and six top 10s. Although he didn’t have to navigate the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, Jones finished his season strong with at least a top-10 finish in the last 15 races.
Griffin Tapped To Drive For Red Horse Racing
Red Horse Racing has tapped 17-year-old Jake Griffin to wheel its No. 11 Toyota in Wednesday’s Aspen Dental Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway.
Griffin’s racing experience includes experience in a variety of series, including; NASCAR, UMP A-Modified, UMP B-Modified, Crate Late Model and Super Late Model. His resume displays more than 100 feature wins, 300+ top-five finishes, one regional championship and six track championships.
“We’re really glad to have Jake on board,” said Red Horse Racing owner Tom DeLoach. “He’s definitely got some experience on dirt, so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do at Eldora.”
Busy Week Ahead For Tony Stewart
There aren’t many people in NASCAR busier than Tony Stewart. Each week, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has to fulfill his obligations as a driver, owner of a four-car Sprint Cup Series team and owner of Eldora Speedway in addition to a litany of other responsibilities that would take too long to list.
Following his runner-up showing in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Stewart answered a question about his preparation for Wednesday’s Aspen Dental Dirt Derby at Eldora.
What do you have on your plate leading up to Eldora to get the facility ready and get everything ready to go?
STEWART: Like I do every year, I’m flying from here straight to Eldora, and I’ll be there from tonight through Wednesday night. A lot of the stuff that we do for the racetrack side, at least from my role, is done in the middle of the night. When everybody else is either finishing at the bar or coming home from the bar, I’m still working. We’ll do what we have to. I’ve got a great staff there. I have Roger Slack and Larry Boos, and we’ve got a great track crew that is as dedicated as any to get this thing done and to get it done right, so we’ll go back there and we’ll kick butt and get after it and get ready for Tuesday and Wednesday.