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Expect more excitement next season at Eldora

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Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway is one of the key short tracks in the Midwest, so attending some of the Ohio track’s main events means planning.

The biggest event, only in its second running, will be next year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Mudsummer Classic, planned for July 23.

When the first truck race was scheduled for last season, many people probably looked at it as a one-time deal. Last year’s race was probably the best NASCAR truck race that most of us had ever seen.

The fact that it came down to a duel between Austin Dillon, a traditional NASCAR driver, against Kyle Larson, one of the top dirt-track talents to come along, was simply icing on the cake.

That’s not the only big race, though. The 20th annual Dirt Late Model Dream is scheduled for June 5 to 7. The Dream will pay $100,000 to win.

The granddaddy of Eldora’s dirt late model races is the World 100, and its 44th running is scheduled for    Sept. 4 to 6. When the track’s founder, Earl Baltes, introduced the event, he began a tradition that would add $1,000 to the winner’s share of the purse each year. In 2014 the winner will take $47,000 of the $284,000 purse. That obviously leaves plenty of cash for a nice payout for the rest of the starters and preliminary participants.

The Kings Royal World of Outlaws weekend is scheduled for July 11 and 12. It will continue to pay $50,000 to win. This 2014 event is the 31st running of this favorite of winged sprint-car-racing fans.

Some time ago, Eldora adopted the same kind of policy employed for decades by tracks such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway    and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, which permits ticket holders to renew their tickets for the next season. In earlier days, fans had only a week to order next year’s tickets for the Indianapolis 500.

Stewart is a little more generous in granting renewal rights to his ticket holders. The same kind of renewal rights are granted to those who rent one of Stewart’s campsites. Renewal notices will be sent out via email and mail within the next week. The deadline for ticket renewal is Nov. 24.

Those who renew on time are then eligible for the track’s “Add and Exchange Days,” which will be Dec. 2 to 4. On those days, ticket holders can add tickets and campsites to their order or move to seats and campsites not renewed by the renewal date.

Prices in 2014 will be the same as they were in 2013.

Veteran racer remembered

Leon Rose of Brown County had been involved in racing in the area for as long as I can remember. He raced with the sprint cars, but his car was so distinctive that, decades later, I can recall it. It appeared to be a super-modified that had been morphed into a sprint car. It looked like an early Ford coupe with much of the bodywork cut away.

The car’s number was 270, which was said to be the displacement of the GMC six-cylinder engine that originally powered the car. At some point, he switched to a V8 engine that appeared to me to have been hijacked from a Buick. It also was pink, not a particularly popular color for a racecar even then. However, the car’s driver was popular.

While Rose, who passed away Oct. 21 at age 87 at his home in Nashville, was seldom a threat to win the championship, he always was considered a clean driver. That resulted in his receiving sportsmanship awards at both Bloomington Speedway and Paragon Speedway.

Local sprint-car veteran Butch Wilkerson remembered Rose fondly.

“You never had to worry about racing around Leon on the track,” Wilkerson said. “If you were too aggressive on the track, Rose would tell you in the pits after the race that you should watch your driving. He wasn’t threatening you. He was warning you that other drivers might retaliate.”

After climbing from the cockpit for the last time, Rose continued to participate as a mechanic and car owner. Rose was the kind of man who helped to form the backbone of motorsports. They continue to invest the time and money that it takes to put a car on the track week after week simply for the love of the sport.

Canyon Speedway Park

Peoria, Ariz.

Oct. 25

USAC National Sprint Car 13th annual Hall of Fame Classic Preliminary Feature: 1. Bryan Clauson 2. Tracy Hine 3. Mike Spencer 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. 5. Damion Gardner 6. Dave Darland 7. Josh Pelkey 8. Robert Ballou 9. Tyler Courtney 10. Justin Grant

Oct. 26

USAC National Sprint Car 13th annual Hall of Fame Classic Championship Feature: 1. Chase Stockon of Elizabethtown 2. Tracy Hines 3. Justin Grant 4. R.J. Johnson 5. Robert Ballou 6. Chris Windom 7. Bryan Clauson 8. Damion Gardner 9. Austin  Williams 10. Josh Pelkey

Tim McKinney writes a weekly racing column for     The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5632.

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