TMS Media Relations | Jul 23, 2014
Last July, NASCAR took a calculated gamble when the sanctioning body instituted its first national series race on dirt since 1970 when Eldora Speedway played host to the “Mudsummer Classic” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Rossburg, Ohio. Many were skeptical on how successful it would be, but three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart also happens to be the owner of Eldora Speedway and delivered on all fronts.
With nearly 25,000 spectators and another 1.4 million tuning in to FOX Sports 1, the inaugural event was so successful that the NASCAR trucks will return to the half-mile high banks of Eldora once again for tonight’s second annual “Mudsummer Classic.” Defending champion Austin Dillon highlights the entry list that also includes fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookies Kyle Larson and Michael Annett as well as racing veteran Kenny Schrader.
The “Mudsummer Classic” will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 beginning with qualifying at 4:00 p.m. CT. The feature event will be on FOX Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 8:00 p.m. CT.
Last year’s inaugural race ended in a thrilling green/white-checkered finish in which Dillon held off Larson as the two banged doors over the final laps.
“It was probably the biggest win of my career,” Dillon said. “It was so much fun. There was a lot of media going into it. It was a historic race going back to dirt for the first time (since 1970). It’s one of my favorite tracks in the world.”
Dillon, who has struggled in his rookie campaign in NASCAR’s top series with just two top-10 finishes, will welcome the opportunity to get back to his racing roots and defend his championship.
“I don’t think the pressure is ever off. You want to go back and perform,” Dillon said. “I feel like there’s pressure every race I go to because I want to win them all. I’m excited to go there because we have some good history there. It’s hard to beat the inaugural, but I think it’ll be just as big.”
For Larson, whose background is in sprint cars, tonight’s event has long been circled on his calendar after being so close to victory.
“It was a blast last year at Eldora,” Larson said. “You know, a race that I looked forward to when it was announced last year, and then to get to race it and see how well the show was run and how great the racing was made me even more excited for this year. Getting beat last year made me really pumped up for this year’s race. I don’t get to do a whole lot of dirt racing anymore, so to get back to kind of my roots makes it fun, too.”
Tonight’s event will continue with traditional dirt-style rules with five 10-lap qualifying races followed by a 15-lap last-chance race. The feature event will be 150 laps divided into three segments – 60, 50 and 40 laps – with competition cautions on Lap 60 and Lap 110.
Unlike the inaugural event, pit stops during competition cautions are now optional and the qualifying races have been bumped to 10 laps rather than the inaugural race’s eight laps.
“Last year’s inaugural event at Eldora Speedway was an incredible success, and these enhancements will only increase the excitement for our fans,” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Managing Director Chad Little said. “NASCAR continually works with team owners and drivers to ensure that NASCAR fans get what they’ve come to expect out of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – close, thrilling racing, every single lap.”
Here is the complete rundown of race procedures for tonight’s “Mudsummer Classic.”
• Two-lap, single-truck qualifying determines starting position for the qualifying races with random draw determining the qualifying order. Qualifying Races
• Five qualifying races will be held at 10 laps each and only green flag laps are counted.
• Lineup for the qualifying races will be based on qualifying speeds.
• The top five trucks in qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races with four locked-in trucks (top 20 in driver points) starting in each qualifying race.
• Five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the feature – four locked-in trucks and one non-locked-in truck.
• Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the feature race. Last Chance 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.
• Top-four finishers transfer to the feature and start in positions 26-29.
• The 30th starting position goes to the most recent past series champion. If the position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned to the next highest finishing truck of the Last Chance Race.
• Owner points will be awarded to the top five team owners whose trucks do not transfer into the feature.
• The race will be 150 laps divided into three segments of 60, 50 and 40 laps with 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.
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