Bloomquist Slides Into NASCAR In Truck At Eldora
By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
ROSSBURG, Ohio – Scott Bloomquist is arguably the greatest stock car driver to never turn a lap in a NASCAR event.
But that will all change Wednesday evening when the Mooresburg, Tenn. native joins 29 others to make history by competing in the first NASCAR dirt race since 1970.
Bloomquist will pilot Kyle Busch Motorsport’s No. 51 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ inaugural Mudsummer Classic at the historic, half-mile dirt track facility known as Eldora Speedway.
The 49-year-old Bloomquist, one of the most successful Late Model dirt track racers in the nation, strolled into the infield media center on Tuesday with his trademark shoulder-length hair and remarked that he’s just glad to be in the starting field.
But he ended the session with the assembled press by hinting that he won’t be afraid to use his front bumper to get to the front.
So what would it mean for Bloomquist to win in his first NASCAR start?
“I think this is a big thing. It’s big for me and a win would mean a lot,” he said. “Eldora has been such a big part of my history.
“We have a tremendous amount of fans that come up here. And I think there’s a bunch of them up here for this event. It would impress them and I’d be surprise myself.
“But there’s a lot of talent here. There’s a lot of young and older. It’s really just an honor to be a part of it. I’m taking a very humble approach. But I think when I get to that last segment then I’m not going to worry about the paint.”
Aside from Bloomquist, the drivers to beat Wednesday night appear to be Kyle Larson, the father-and-son duo of Dave and Ryan Blaney and the Dillon brothers, Austin and Ty.
Larson, who turned the fastest lap during the opening round of practice on Tuesday, turns 21 next week but has already accumulated a number of dirt track victories in his career.
He was more than willing to offer advice to his Turner Scott Motorsports teammates, James Buescher and Jeb Burton, during practice.
“I don’t know if they thought you had to be sideways, but they were way too sideways,” Larson said with a grin. “I went down there and talked to Jeb and James and let them know that I felt the straighter I ran, the faster I’d go.
“It’s pretty difficult here because you have to be so smooth on everything. And you see a lot of the pavement guys out there and are real aggressive on the throttle and it kind of gets their truck unbalanced and they screw up the whole corner.
“It’s similar to running in the top of (Turns) 3 and 4 at Darlington. You’ve got to be really easy in the corner and get as close as you can to the wall.”
NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney turned the second-fast lap in opening practice in the No. 19 Ford owned by Brad Keselowski.
“You can the truck right out next to the wall and not feel out of control and move around the race track,” Blaney said.
“I was watching my kid (Ryan) for a while and I was really shocked. He was way closer to the wall than I was. He was just getting after. He’s great.”
– Jeff Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments