NASCAR on dirt.
This is happening.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race at the Eldora Speedway dirt track next season – NASCAR's first national series dirt race since 1970 – and the news figures to be well-received by race fans around the country.
Eldora, owned by Tony Stewart, and the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park road course outside Toronto are two highlights of the 22-race Truck schedule announced Wednesday. Atlanta and one of Kentucky's races will leave the calendar next year.
The July 24 dirt race at the 20,000-seat rural Ohio track figures to be one of NASCAR's most-hyped races of the 2013 season. Stewart could race in the event along with drivers from Sprint Cup, Nationwide and even other series (Tony Kanaan tweeted his interest shortly after the announcement) – an all-star field of sorts to go along with the Truck regulars.
Eldora's deal all came together Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning after safety experts from the University of Nebraska visited the track on Monday and concluded it would not need to install SAFER barriers – a key sticking point. The track will make some minor modifications to inside walls, but soft walls will not be needed.
The format is unclear, but NASCAR said it could include heat races. Pit stops might be eschewed in favor of a halftime break, but all of those details (including the length of the race) are still undecided.
Trucks tested at Eldora earlier this year (the video is below). Stewart said the only major modification was removing the splitter on the front of the vehicle.
Here is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for 2013.
Feb. 22 – Daytona International Speedway
April 6 – Martinsville Speedway
April 14 – Rockingham Speedway
April 20 – Kansas Speedway
May 17 – Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 31 – Dover International Speedway
June 7 – Texas Motor Speedway
June 27 – Kentucky Speedway
July 13 – Iowa Speedway
July 24 – Eldora Speedway
Aug. 3 – Pocono Raceway
Aug. 17 – Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 21 – Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 1 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Sept. 8 – Iowa Speedway
Sept. 13 – Chicagoland Speedway
Sept. 28 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Oct. 19 – Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 26 – Martinsville Speedway
Nov. 1 – Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 8 – Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 15 – Homestead-Miami Speedway