Details surrounding the formation and format of the most anticipated NASCAR race of the 2013 season are starting to pour in as Eldora Speedway General Manager Roger Slack took time to preview the Camping World Truck Series Mudsummer Classic with SB Nation on Friday afternoon.
Tickets went on sale Saturday morning and Speedway officials are expecting a standing-room only crowd of 23,000 when the green flag drops on July 24. The event is perhaps the most hyped race in recent memory -- a fact not lost on Slack.
"It's a big deal for NASCAR, for the Truck Series and for all of motorsports," Slack said. "If you look at everything that's happened since Oct. 15 when this race was first rumored, this event has more media coverage and social media buzz than any other event.
"This is the racing event of 2013. That presents a lot of pressure but there is also a lot of excitement.
Eldora will require only a few cosmetic changes in advance of the event and most of them were planned prior to the NASCAR announcement in November. The Sanctioning Body will however require the construction of a modular infield care center and the Speedway has planned its construction.
Slack confirmed that the track will not add temporary seating for the event, citing Kentucky Speedway's inaugural Sprint Cup Series race as an example of what could happen if the event were to oversell the facility. The Kentucky event, held in 2011, saw over 15,000 ticket holders miss the race as a result of meager infrastructure and poor planning.
NASCAR officials had been exploring the possibility of a dirt track race for the Truck Series a lot longer than most people had realized. Speedway owner Tony Stewart was only half-joking when he mentioned hosting a Truck Series race but NASCAR was taking the idea very seriously.
Slack recounted a track officials meeting for the World 100 Dirt Late Model race in September where the Speedway concluded that the Prelude to the Dream could no longer happen on a regular basis. At that same meeting, track officials also discussed the still unreleased Truck Series schedule and sent NASCAR an email inquiring about Eldora's interest in holding a NASCAR race at Eldora Speedway.
"They actually responded really quickly," Slack said. "A month and three days later, we conducted our tire test with Tony and Austin [Dillon]."
Drivers from outside of the NASCAR discipline are expected to file entries including the three-time World of Outlaws and Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Champion, Scott Bloomquist.
"It's exciting for Scott," Slack said. "He wants to come down and prove he's the best in dirt and he's not the only one. The mix diverse entry list and elimination races should make for a real exciting night."
The format for the race has not been announced but Slack said that Eldora's staff was consulted by NASCAR in order to provide a more authentic dirt-track style event in July.
The Mudsummer Classic will kick-off Brickyard 400 week and will be held the Wednesday before the NASCAR and GRAND-AM events at nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway.