Eldora Truck Race Demonstrates Why NASCAR Needs More Dirt Track Races

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was at Eldora Speedway last week for the Eldora Dirt Derby. It was a long-awaited and highly anticipated race, boasting plenty of drifting, slipping, sliding and bedlam.

Thirty-two trucks revved their engines and showed fans, new and old, exactly why dirt track racing is so epic, and why NASCAR ought to have more dirt track races. With mud-splattered windows, drivers slowed down for the first caution that came out for Pierce who span around for the second time that day. Yeley got into him and there was nothing that anyone could do with no grip and lots of slime. After only seven laps, the trucks running further back had mud all over their grills. It was going to be a huge challenge for drivers to make sure their trucks didn’t overheat. It was a challenge presented only by dirt track racing, and it was thrilling.

The chaos on track was so intense as drivers took corners sideways and bashed into each other and the walls. With not a single dull moment, these fast trucks were providing endless entertainment. Lap 19 saw a lot of contact when Creed went sideways and Rhodes smashed into him. Other trucks had nowhere to go, Sauter, Burton, Benning and many more were collected in this pile up. Just like restrictor plate races, drivers would have to be incredibly lucky to miss any incident that unfolds before them, and that’s perhaps another reason why fans love this race at Eldora.

The stands were packed full of people, showing how popular this race is. The start of Stage two saw the fourth caution came out on lap three. Johnston was around and he also collected Rhodes and Forrister. At this point it seemed more like a demolition derby, rather than a dirt derby.

Not only were drivers trying to be aggressive, but this unique track also meant that drivers were trying to avoid slipping up into the wall and damaging their right sides. This was yet another reason why NASCAR needs more dirt track races. Ending under green, Friesen won Stage two.

Despite his earlier wreck and wounded car, dirt track racer, Bell, led the start of Stage three. Friesen was moving in for the kill with Bell through this decent stretch of green flag racing. The constant action, and a good mixture of caution causing incidents and green flag racing was keeping everyone on their toes and enthralled. Friesen pounced with 36 laps to go and it was the longest stretch of green flag racing there’d been all race. Although, Ty Dillon brought out a caution four laps later as drivers stepped up a notch as the race wound down.

Crafton and Friesen went head to head in a feisty battle for first, and Crafton got the upper hand with 16 laps to go. Ciccarelli brought out two cautions this Stage, racking the total up to ten with 14 laps to go. Crafton broke his year-long winless streak as he took victory at Eldora–and that by itself–is a great reason to want more dirt track races.

Seeing drivers really come into their own with this unique style of racing definitely gives the drivers a whole new dimension with how their talents can translate to different styles of racing. In Crafton’s case, he’d even bought a dirt modified vehicle just so he could practice for this race. It definitely paid off as Matt Crafton went to Victory Lane for the first time in 27 races. It was the equivalent of a fairy-tale ending for fans after an utterly epic display of aggression, skill, talent and guts–all wrapped up with a whole lot of dirt, slipping, sliding and speed shown by all drivers.