Things are about to get dirty for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers.
For the first time of the season, the Truck Series is set for a mid-week Wednesday night race as the series heads to Eldora Speedway. The half-mile dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio is the scene of NASCAR’s only dirt track race.
With several dirt ringers in the field, it’s no guarantee that series regulars like Matt Crafton, William Byron and Johnny Sauter can come away with a win. However, a number of Truck Series regulars are experienced dirt track racers, and could use their experience to their advantage to lock up a Chase berth.
Christopher Bell is Eldora’s defending race winner, and an odds on favorite to take the win on Wednesday. Bell led 106 laps en route to winning the race last year, scoring his first career win. After winning at Gateway Motorsport Park a few weeks ago, Bell is presumably a lock for the Chase, but a second win could make him feel more secure for the playoffs.
At only 20 years old, Tyler Reddick is one of the more experienced dirt racers in the field. Reddick is the youngest driver to win a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race, and also the youngest to ever qualify for a World of Outlaws feature race. The Brad Keselowski Racing driver currently sits seventh in points, and would own one of the last Chase positions. Reddick finished third in last year’s Eldora race, and could use a win this year to help his championship situation.
Two-time Chili Bowl winner Rico Abreu will also have something to say about who gets the win when all is said and done. Before last year, Abreu had only raced on dirt, and never raced on pavement. This year, Abreu finds himself driving full-time for ThorSport Racing. Abreu finds himself in a situation where he needs a win in order to make the Chase, and Eldora is likely his best shot.
Most fans didn’t know the name “Bobby Pierce” last year, but the 19-year-old made quite the impression at Eldora driving for the Mittler Bros. Racing team when he started on pole, and finished second to Bell. He led 39 laps, and nearly won in his series debut. Pierce returns to Eldora with winning on his mind. If he gets the job done this year, it should be no surprise to fans.
Returning to the Truck Series at Eldora with a trophy in the back of his mind is NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson. Larson skipped Eldora last year, but battled hard for the win with Darrell Wallace, Jr in 2014 before coming out on the losing end. The experienced dirt racer hit the wall several times in the race’s closing stages trying to pass Wallace, and finished the race 26th. Larson is back this year driving the No. 24 DC Solar Chevrolet for GMS Racing, and will be back in contention for a win.
Ken Schrader may be 61 years old, but fans would be foolish to count him out for a win. Schrader won the pole for the inaugural Truck race at Eldora in 2013, and finished fourth in this race last year. Schrader’s coming off of a weekend win in his dirt car at Ohsweken Speedway, so the former Cup racer still has the ability to win. He last won in the Truck Series in 1995, but watch for Schrader’s No. 71 Hunt Brothers Pizza Toyota to teach the youngsters a thing or two.
Several more dirt ringers are in the field such as: Stadium Super Trucks racer Sheldon Creed, J.R. Heffner, Jake Griffin and Stewart Friesen.
With dirt racing being an equalizer in the same way that restrictor plate racing is, look for the dirt racers in lower funded rides like Pierce and Friesen to use their experience to perhaps steal a win from the series regulars.