ROSSBURG, Ohio – The largest field in event history will take to the clay banks of Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway on Wednesday for the sixth running of the Eldora Dirt Derby.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the half-mile dirt oval in West-Central Ohio is the only NASCAR national series event of the year on a dirt track and has held that distinction every year since its inception in 2013, when it ended a 43-year drought for the discipline in NASCAR competition.
The format for the event is also unique in the fact that two-lap time trials begin the night, but qualifying heat races and a last-chance showdown (B-main) are used to set the final grid for the 150-lap feature.
While the pool of competing trucks has been solid in the past, with drivers failing to make the starting field in each of the five prior editions, this summer’s Eldora race will have the largest contingent yet being sent home – as 39 trucks dotted the preliminary entry list and only 32 will make the grid.
Defending Dirt Derby victor and two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton is the only past event winner on this year’s entry list, piloting his familiar No. 88 Menards Ford F-150 for ThorSport Racing as he seeks his first win of the year.
Crafton is coming off his best finish of the season, having run third last Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.
Much like the series’ lone road course race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Eldora is known for the myriad of dirt-track ringers that join the fray for the Dirt Derby, and this year’s event is no different.
NASCAR Cup Series stars Ryan Newman and Ty Dillon, who both have plenty of dirt experience from their short track days, are the two most notable names in that category. Newman will pilot the No. 3 Chevrolet for Jordan Anderson Racing and Dillon will strap into the No. 12 Chevrolet for Young’s Motorsports.
Former USAC National Midget titlist Tanner Thorson will race as a teammate to Dillon at Young’s Motorsports, making his third Truck Series start of the season and first at Eldora.
DGR-Crosley will employ a pair of dirt track aces in its Nos. 17 and 54 Toyotas, with big-block modified star-turned K&N Pro Series East regular Tyler Dippel joining multi-time USAC champion Chris Windom for a potent two-truck effort.
Ford development driver Chase Briscoe will wheel a fifth ThorSport Racing entry, numbered 27, while Max McLaughlin and Logan Seavey will both make their Truck Series debuts during Wednesday’s proceedings.
McLaughlin, a former Super DIRTcar Series rookie of the year, will drive a third Niece Motorsports truck and Seavey, the current USAC National Midget points leader, takes the controls of the potent Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Toyota.
Among the division’s full-time contingent with solid dirt backgrounds are last year’s Eldora runner-up Stewart Friesen, Indiana young gun Justin Haley and Crafton, all of whom have spent time racing dirt modifieds during their off weekends from the Truck Series this season.
For a look at the complete Eldora entry list, advance to the next page.