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Trucks returning to dirt roots with Eldora swing


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A few weeks back, it was announced that there would be no Prelude to the Dream run next year at Tony Stewart’s Eldora             Speedway.

This seemed strange since the event seemed always to be a sellout and made tons of money for charity. The logistics of putting on the event, which included today’s superstars, proved too difficult at the track.

However, it has just been announced that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will compete at the Rossburg, Ohio, track on July 24.

Stewart and Ty Dillon, Richard Childress’ grandson, tested a pair of Richard Childress trucks on the dirt at Eldora in September.

Apparently the tests went to everyone’s satisfaction. Certainly, some fans might expect that there would be difficulty getting the race trucks to negotiate the high banked dirt half-mile.

However, ARCA has raced stockcars on the dirt twice a year for years, and they seem to have little difficulty getting the cars set up for the dirt.

A large percentage of drivers started racing on dirt. Still others have encountered dirt surfaces during their careers. In any event, few drivers would pass up the chance to run the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck race at Eldora.

The first race has been named the Inaugural “Mudsummer” Classic, and a maximum of 30 cars will start the race.

Concerning the upcoming race, Stewart said, “Eldora typically hosts 10 different touring series each year; and we’re very proud to have NASCAR join the list of series that will compete at our track. NASCAR’s history began in the sands of Daytona and on the dirt of the Carolinas, and having the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on the dirt at Eldora brings that history back to a new generation of fans, as well as Eldora’s own fan base.”

NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell commented, “We’ve been looking at getting the trucks back to short tracks — to the roots of racing, including the dirt — and we’re excited to announce our 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race at Eldora.

“The door-to-door racing that our truck series is known for, plus Eldora’s popularity and Tony’s dedication to putting on great shows for the fans, is a perfect fit. We’ll have a maximum starting field of 30 trucks.”

POWRi promotes at ‘The Prairie’

When midget racers get together, the bench racing often turns to the action at “The Prairie.” Those knowledgeable enough to be participating in such a discussion will not be confused as to where the race occurred.

The track involved is Angel Park Speedway, and it is owned by the Sun Prairie (Wis.) Fire Department. For decades, racers and fans have simply identified the track as “The Prairie”

I recall my first visit to The Prairie decades ago. I had a business meeting in Madison, Wis., early on a Monday morning; and I decided to go early and attend the races at The Prairie.

Although Sunday night racing is often problematic for attendance, they had a full house and full pits. The reason for the popularity of their program quickly became apparent. Every event went off on schedule. There was no support program to interfere with the schedule.

For several years racing at The Prairie was generally promoted by the Badger Midget Racing Association; however, in 2010, Badger and the track parted ways for a time. Chris Wilkie primarily promoted the racing at The Prairie for the past couple of years; however, POWRi co-sanctioned 10 events with Badger in 2012. And, two of them were at Angell Park.

It has since been decided that POWRi will promote racing at The Prairie full time. The combination of one of the most storied midget tracks and a venerable sanctioning body promises a good season of racing in 2013 and perhaps many seasons to come.

Angell Park President Bob Koltes said, “We’re very happy to have Kenny Brown and POWRi’s exceptional leadership operating Angell Park. We’re on track to be a front- runner in the future of midget racing in the upper Midwest. We need to keep midget racing alive. We’ve formed a partnership with Badger and POWRi to keep fans in the seats and cars on the track.

“We have a great race track with a lot of history. Badger has been sanctioning races since 1936; and we’ve added the magnitude of the POWRi organization built during the past several years.”

Tim McKinney is an auto racing columnist for The Republic. He can be reached at 372-3936.

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