Stewart Has Dirty Reputation As Track Owner
By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
ROSSBURG, Ohio – Dave Blaney will make a rare start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series tonight when he pilots the No. 19 Ford owned by Brad Keselowski in the inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway.
Aside from being a veteran driver, Blaney also wears the hat of a race track promoter.
He purchased Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio in 2002.
On Wednesday, Blaney labeled Eldora Speedway, owned by fellow Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart, as one of the top short facilities in the nation.
“There are improvements all the time and it’s more fan friendly,” Blaney said. “The track is still the same but it’s maybe the coolest dirt track there is. Just the shape of it, the banking and size for dirt racing, whether it’s Late Models or Sprint Cars it’s very cool.
“They’ve got the whole package here now, with amenities for fans and the race track. And, obviously, having an event like this tonight knocks it up a notch or two in stature.”
If Austin or Ty Dillon win this evening’s inaugural race on dirt for NASCAR’s truck series, will the brothers do anything to commemorate the occasion?
“If one of us wins it, then we can retire the truck or do something like that,” Ty Dillon said. “For being the inaugural race on dirt, I’ll definitely save something from it for sure.”
“We’ll definitely be taking a bunch of pictures,” Austin Dillon said. “And the tires are pretty awesome too. That might be something to take back with you. They look pretty neat.”
The Dillons confirmed that many teams in the garage, including Richard Childress Racing, are actually de-tuning engines this week due to the lack of grip. Drivers are rarely able to run full throttle on the half-mile oval.
Blaney, a veteran on dirt surfaces, couldn’t think of another facility to measure Eldora against when it comes to getting a run off the corners and down the straightaways.
“This requires the most finesse by a mile,” he said. “There is no grip in these trucks. It’s the combination of the tire we have and a big, heavy pavement racing car that is not built for dirt in any way, shape or form. And they don’t run fast.
“But you’ve still got to try to get the most out of it. It’s really, really easy to try to get too much and go way slower. It’s really finesse but the people have to help you too in trying to get it hooked up. Trying to get grip is going to make you or break you here when it comes down to it.”
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