NASCAR Returns to Roots With Dirt-Track Race


  • Eldora Speedway

    Eldora Speedway

    The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will get down and dirty next summer with an event that gets back to NASCAR's roots. | December 04, 2012

Just the Facts:
  • The first dirt-track race for a major NASCAR series since 1970 will be staged in 2013.
  • The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will compete at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio on July 24.
  • Tony Stewart is owner and promoter of the famous Eldora track, built in 1954 by Earl Baltes.

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — The first dirt-track race for a major NASCAR series since 1970 will be staged in 2013.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will compete at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio on July 24.

Tony Stewart is owner and promoter of the famous Eldora track, built in 1954 by Earl Baltes.

Eldora, a half-mile dirt oval in northwestern Ohio, is owned and promoted by three-time Cup Series champion Stewart. It is arguably the best-known dirt track in American auto racing, with major events for just about every variety of dirt racecars.

Stewart, of Columbus, Indiana, grew up racing go-karts and later open-wheel sprint and midget racecars on both dirt and paved tracks. He moved on to championship-level achievements in both IndyCar and NASCAR, neither of which has sanctioned a major event on anything other than a paved track since 1970.

But Stewart never forgot his roots.

"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," Stewart told National Speed Sport News.

"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," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, in a statement.

Eldora was built by Earl Baltes and opened in 1954. Baltes sold the track to Stewart in 2004.

The last major NASCAR race on a dirt track was in 1970 at a half-mile track in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was one of three dirt-track events on the schedule that year. Richard Petty and Bobby Isaac split a pair of 100-milers at Columbia (South Carolina) Speedway and Petty won the final race on September 30 at Raleigh.

Four of the last six races in the USAC National Championship tour that year were on dirt tracks, the one-mile state fairground tracks in Springfield and Du Quoin, Illinois; Indianapolis; Sedalia, Missouri; and Sacramento, California. Mario Andretti won the final dirt race October 4 of that year at the California State Fairgrounds track in Sacramento.

Edmunds says: It's a safe bet that many fans of NASCAR and dirt-track racing — to paraphrase country singer Brad Paisley — can't wait for the Camping World trucks to get a little dirt on their tires.

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