NASCAR Trucks at Eldora – An Enjoyable Evening of Racing

I haven’t enjoyed a race this much in years.

That’s what I had to say just before the end of last night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway and a few hours later I still feel the same way.  I’ve been disillusioned with NASCAR racing for some time.  I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to a NASCAR race but ever since they announced that the Trucks would be racing on the dirt at Eldora I’ve been anticipating this race.  Speed opined during the broadcast that is was the most anticipated NASCAR race in 20 years; I don’t know about that but it was definitely the most anticipated race of this season.  The racing last night was terrific and it made me remember the great dirt track racing one could watch on TV every week when I was a teenager.

It was fun racing to watch; the Trucks may not have been as fast as some wanted to see but the racing was excellent.  Aero wasn’t a concern and it came down to mechanical setup on the team’s part and car control on the driver’s part.  The race was also well organized.  Eight lap qualifying heat races helped spread the activity over the course of the evening and built up anticipation for the main event.  Caution laps didn’t count, so the short qualifying heats didn’t suffer and you got the full 150 laps for the main event.  Come the main event, there was a minimum of crashing and spinning (much less than I think anyone expected) and there was racing throughout the field even if it did settle out to a 2-3 truck race at the front.  It really was a race in which there was never a dull moment.

Dirt Track racing on TV. Can we do this every Wednesday night?

Once upon a time, we did it every Thursday Night.  Back in ESPN’s early days, they showed short track racing in the form of dirt and asphalt sprint cars from the Indianapolis area weekly on “Thursday Night Thunder.”  It was great racing and great television. You got to see the greats of short track racing as well as watch new drivers make their name in the sport; Jeff Gordon first made his name on Thursday Night Thunder on his way to NASCAR fame.  After I tweeted that statement, others picked it up and suggested it to Randy Bernard, formerly of IndyCar, about carrying similar programming on the network he’s now heading, RFD-TV.  The idea seemed to be a popular one, Steve Wittich counted something along the lines of 50 supportive tweets in the space of just 15 minutes.  If you think it’s a good idea, drop a tweet to Randy Bernard and USAC supporting it.  You might also want to include the hashtag #RFDTVdirttrackracing.

Seriously. needs to do this every season and add a couple more dirt tracks to the schedule.

Tony Stewart, who goaded NASCAR into racing the Trucks at Eldora deserves huge credit for this.  NASCAR does as well for going along with it and showing a modern generation of NASCAR fans what some of the roots of the sport are all about.  Once upon a time, almost every driver in the series had some dirt experience before they started racing on pavement.  The promoters did a magnificent job and Speed did a pretty good job televising it.  I hope this becomes an annual event; I don’t know how else you could look at this race but as a huge success.  Who knows, maybe one of these days we could see the Nationwide or even the Cup cars on dirt somewhere?

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