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June 2018
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Crafton ends 27-race winless drought to win NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Eldora Dirt Derby


61,944 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner On coming back to win the race 7 19 2017

61,946 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner Feelings on winning on dirt when it is not his racing pedigree 7 19 2017

61,948 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner On buying his own dirt vehicle and learning to race on dirt 7 19 2017

61,950 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby Did ever wonder if the 27 race streak would end 7 19 2017

61,951 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner Did ever think about turning the season around would start at a dirt track like Eldora 7 19 2017

61,952 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby Does the new points system this year make each race important due to the stages 7 19 2017


Rossburg, Ohio — Most race fans feel that if you lead the most laps, you win the race. That is not always a true statement.

Most races come down to pit strategy, tire changes at key points, conserving fuel, staying away from and out of accidents plus, just plain luck!

Take for example Wednesday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway. Stewart Friesen led 93 total laps, Matt Crafton led only 24 but the later dominated down the stretch to win the 5th Annual Eldora Dirt Derby 150. Driving the #88 IdealDoor/Menards Toyota Truck, the 41-year-old Crafton held off hard-charging Stewart Friesen (second place) and Chase Briscoe (third place). The win was Crafton’s first in more than a year. For those of you keeping count, that is a streak of 27 races. His last win was May 2016 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  His 14th in 395 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.

Matt Crafton in 2007 #88 truck By Kim Phillips - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https

Matt Crafton in 2011 By NSCRDVA at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https

Crafton, who is from Tulare, California, is having a decent 2017 season with one win and seven, Top-10 finishes.

This is his first victory and fifth top-10 finish in five races at the Darke County dirt track.

Friesen, driving the #52 Halmar International Chevrolet,  posted his first Top-10 finish in two races at Eldora Speedway. For 2017, it is his his first Top-10 finish.

Briscoe, driving the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, posted his first Top-10 finish at Eldora.

For those race fans, dirt track racing can be tricky. There can be no real flow to a race. With 32 trucks on a half-mile track, there can be cautions sometimes every 5-10 laps. There were 10 cautions in tonight’s race so that comes out to 1 every 15 laps. But the racing is very competitive as there were four different leaders, with 7 different lead changes involving Friesen, Crafton, Christopher Bell and Joe Nemechek.

Crafton used a late-race restart 18 laps from the finish to take the lead away from Friesen, a veteran driver on dirt tracks.

Crafton came to life in the last forty laps of the race, patiently working his way from the lower-rung of the top-10 and took advantage of a Lap 127 caution to position himself to take the lead 22 laps later.

“My first dirt win – a lot of fun,” said Crafton. “In the second part of that race we down right just stunk. It was my fault. We over-tightened it a little bit in the first run. It got free and we just went back to the way we started the race.

“I knew I was getting beat down low. Finally, at the end, I said, ‘Well, we may have to tear the right side off to get the win.’ I started doing it and this truck became a rocket ship.”

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off for 10 days until July 29 where they will race at Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 150.


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – Eldora Dirt Derby

Eldora Speedway

Official Race Standings

1. (2) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 150.

2. (1) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 150.

3. (12) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 150.

4. (11) Grant Enfinger #, Toyota, 150.

5. (6) John H. Nemechek, Chevrolet, 150.

6. (26) Bobby Pierce, Chevrolet, 150.

7. (10) Noah Gragson #, Toyota, 150.

8. (13) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 150.

9. (4) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 150.

10. (17) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 150.

11. (27) Cody Coughlin #, Toyota, 150.

12. (5) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 150.

13. (29) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 150.

14. (16) Jeffrey Abbey, Chevrolet, 150.

15. (23) Harrison Burton, Toyota, 150.

16. (28) Wendell Chavous #, Chevrolet, 149.

17. (24) Ken Schrader, Chevrolet, 149.

18. (31) Mike Harmon(i), Chevrolet, 147.

19. (20) Chris Windom, Chevrolet, 146.

20. (8) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 146.

21. (18) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, 146.

22. (32) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, 146.

23. (14) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 143.

24. (25) Brandon Hightower(i), Chevrolet, 138.

25. (21) Justin Shipley, Ford, Engine, 121.

26. (15) Rico Abreu, Toyota, Accident, 117.

27. (19) Sheldon Creed(i), Chevrolet, Overheating, 80.

28. (30) Korbin Forrister, Chevrolet, Accident, 44.

29. (22) Max Johnston, Chevrolet, Accident, 41.

30. (7) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, Accident, 40.

31. (3) Kaz Grala #, Chevrolet, Accident, 34.

32. (9) Caleb Holman, Chevrolet, Transmission, 12.



* Dateline Details: Is Eldora Speedway located in Rossburg, Ohio or New Weston, Ohio? One thing is for certain, the two communities are located in Darke County where Greenville is the county seat.

Rossburg, has traditionally been used as the dateline for the Speedway since it opened in 1954. Rossburg is located 2.5 miles south of Eldora.

The small community of New Weston, located to the north, is only 1.5 miles from Eldora Speedway, but Rossburg was first used as the dateline because the track was in the Rossburg telephone exchange. The Speedway, Rossburg and New Weston are all located on Ohio Route 118.

* The Name Eldora: How did Eldora Speedway founder Earl Baltes come up with the name Eldora when he carved out the famous dirt track out of his property back in 1954?

Fascinating story or not? Unfortunately, no!

A prominent area bandleader, Baltes had bought the Eldora Ballroom and its surrounding property in 1952. He was very successful in promoting dances and musical performances. When the race track was completed, he named it after the ballroom.

The Eldora Ballroom is still located directly in front of the speedway on Ohio 118.

Upon the sale of Eldora to Tony Stewart, Baltes retired from race promoting. Upon his retirement the state of Ohio honored Baltes by renaming Hwy. 118 “Earl Baltes Highway” from Ansonia to the south to St. Henry to the north.

Earl Baltes Eldora Speedway founder in 1985 By Ted van Pelt http www photos bantam10 2906207228, CC BY 2.0, https


The House That Tony Stewart Built

Eldora Speedway is a half-mile dirt racing facility located in western Ohio. The facility is owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart. Stewart, an Indiana native, purchased the neighboring state dirt track from Earl Baltes in 2004.


Eldora Speedway has hosted four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since the 2013 season.


In those four races, there have been four different winners.


Starting with the most recent, below are the four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winners at Eldora Speedway:


Winner                       Date

Kyle Larson                 07/20/2016

Christopher Bell          07/22/2015

Darrell Wallace Jr.       07/23/2014

Austin Dillon                07/24/2013


Three of the four Eldora Speedway winners are currently full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers or have made starts in the series this season. Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) both have Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins this season and have qualified for the playoffs, while Darrell Wallace Jr. spent time in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford filling in for the injured Aric Almirola.


A Guide To Eldora
Eldora’s qualifying and race formats differ from the knockout qualifying seen weekly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. Below is a guide to how it works.

At Eldora, a random draw determines the qualifying order for two-lap, single-truck qualifying that determines the starting positions for the qualifying races (five races in total). The fastest qualifier earns the Keystone Light Pole Award.

Each of the five qualifying races consist of 10 laps, with only green-flag laps counting. The top five trucks in the two-lap qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races. The lineups for the qualifying races are filled based on qualifying speeds (sixth competes in the first qualifying race, seventh in the second, eighth in the third, etc.)

The top-five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the race. Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

When the five qualifying races are completed, there will be a last-chance qualifying race. The lineup will be based on finishing position from the qualifying races and the race will be 15 laps with only green flag laps counting. The top two finishers transfer to the race, where they will start in positions 26-27.

The 28th-31st starting positions go to the highest-ranking eligible trucks in owner points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying.

The 32nd starting position goes to the most recent eligible past series champion; if that position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned based upon owner points.

The race will be 150 laps divided into three stages: Stage 1 ends on lap 40, Stage 2 ends on lap 90, and the Final Stage ends on lap 150. During the competition cautions at the stage breaks on Lap 40 and Lap 90, caution laps will not count and positions cannot be improved on pit road.


Teams are not required to pit during the competition cautions. Those teams that do not elect to pit may remain on the track and start in front of the pitting teams.


Eldora Speedway Quick Facts

Below are some series quick facts at the dirt track:

Races: 4

Pole Winners: 4

Youngest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (07/23/2014 – 18 years, 1 month, 23 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Ken Schrader (07/24/2013 – 58 years, 1 months, 25 days)

Race Winners: 4

Youngest Winner: Christopher Bell (07/22/2015 – 20 years, 7 months, 6 days)

Oldest Winner: Kyle Larson (07/20/2016 – 23 years, 6 months, 50 days)

Races Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): 0

Race Record: Austin Dillon 67.401 mph (07/24/2013)

Qualifying Record: Ken Schrader 91.329 mph (07/24/2013)


First Time Diggers At Eldora

There are nine Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Eldora Speedway in Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They include: Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.


One current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver won his first career win at Eldora – Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christopher Bell (07/22/2015).


Over the last three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway, there have been three drivers who have won their first career pole at Eldora.


They include Caleb Holman (07/20/2016), Bobby Pierce (07/22/2015) and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion (2015) Erik Jones (07/23/2014).


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