ELDORA 60th SEASON OPENER NEWS & FACTS
60th Season of Eldora Speedway Racing Launches April 13
ROSSBURG, OH (April 5) – When the green flag waves over Eldora Speedway on Saturday, April 13 it will be a historic moment as it will launch the start of the 60th consecutive season of racing action at the historic speed plant.
Conceived in the fall of 1952 by area farmer/band leader Earl Baltes, Eldora was unveiled to the world on June 6, 1954 as a .250-mile mile clay oval. Two years later, the ingenious Baltes increased the size to three-eighths mile before configuring the present day .500-mile shape in 1958.
From its humble beginning as a place for area speedsters to gather and chase for bragging rights, Eldora Speedway has become an industry leader that has become known worldwide for its high-speed competition, lucrative payouts and time-honored events.
By introducing clever & unique promotions, Baltes spurred the growth and popularity of Eldora.
As the phenomenon known as Eldora grew, so did the size of the historic events, many of which remain on the annual menu. Kicking off the long line of spectacles was the World 100 for Late Models in 1971, an event that will see its 43rd annual running this year September 5, 6 & 7.
The annual USAC (United States Auto Club) Four Crown Nationals was created in 1981 (32nd annual September 20 & 21) while the Sprint Car world was rocked with the $50,000 to win Kings Royal in 1984 (30th annual July 12 & 13). Joining the World 100 as a prolific Late Model event was the $100,000 to win Dirt Late Model Dream in 1994 (19th annual June 6, 7 & 8).
Other high profile creations included the Eldora Million in 2001 that witnessed Late Model driver Donnie Moran becoming $1,000,000 richer and the Mopar Million for non-winged Sprint Cars in 2003 as Jac Haudenschild drove to a $200,000 pay day.
Baltes stepped away in the fall of 2004 when he sold the facility to three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart. Stewart has continued with the pace established by Baltes by introducing the Prelude to the Dream in 2005 and again this year (July 24) when he will bring NASCAR back to dirt for the first time since 1971 with an invasion by the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Stewart’s vision into the next 60 years is simply to continue building upon the famed Eldora Experience.
Sunoco Sponsored American Late Model Series Celebrates 19th Year with Eldora Opener
ROSSBURG, OH (April 5) – It was back in 1995, and with an alphabet soup of Late Model sanctioning bodies travelling throughout the country, that Eldora Speedway’s Earl Baltes decided local racers needed a series in their back yard. One that didn’t involve intensified travelling. He joined forces with Gene Frankart (Attica Raceway Park) and Ken Langhals (Limaland Speedway) to establish the American Late Model Series (ALMS) as a taste of chasing a series title for local Late Model racers.
That theory continues to this date, as the Sunoco sponsored and UMP DIRTcar sanctioned Late Model tour continues into year number 19 at Eldora on April 13 in a tripleheader program joined by the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds and Eldora Stock cars. The original trio of founders has since bowed out, leaving UMP DIRTcar as the driving force behind the unique and popular series.
Over the past 18 years, 67 ALMS races have been contested up Eldora’s .500 mile clay oval, with 31 drivers placing their names upon the win list. Heading that list is Jeep VanWormer with six checkered flags, while perennial contenders Matt Miller and defending champion Brian Ruhlman are in close pursuit with their five victories. All three are expected to be in the fold April 13 in Eldora’s lid-lifting event for ALMS.
Modifieds Continue Strong Presence on Eldora Schedule
ROSSBURG, OH (April 5) – Continuing to run under the UMP DIRTcar sanctioning eye, the Modified division will again see plenty of competition in 2013 at Eldora Speedway; with 13 being the common denominator. That number not only represents the year (2013) and date (April 13) of the first Modified invasion, but it is also the number of scheduled race meets this year for the popular division.
Since their debut in 1991, the open-wheeled Modifieds have contested 232 events on the .500 mile Eldora clay oval; producing 58 different winners.
Five-time champion Scott Orr heads up that list with his 34 triumphs, but has not visited victory lane since 2010. That dry spell has allowed fellow past champions Brian Ruhlman (28) and Jerry Bowersock (24) to advance closer to the top of the all-time win list. Each of those three is expected to be in the field April 13, with Ruhlman and Bowersock also wheeling UMP DIRTcar Late Models in double-duty efforts.
Trio of Defending Champions to Take On 2013 Challengers
ROSSBURG, OH (April 5) – Saturday’s (April 13) kick off to the 60th season of racing at Eldora Speedway also serves as the initial points race of the season for teams chasing the UMP DIRTcar Late Model, UMP DIRTcar Modified and Eldora Stock Car 2013 titles. Entering the race meet as defending champions will be Jeep VanWormer (Late Model), Joey Kramer (Modified) and Barney Craig (Stock Car). All three are expected to be in attendance.
Last year’s chase for the crowns produced one of the most competitive battles seen in recent history, as the respective titles were in question right through the checkered flag of the final feature events.
Track Time Valuable for Late Model Teams
ROSSBURG, OH (April 5) – Eldora Speedway’s marquee events, the Dirt Late Model Dream (June 6, 7 & 8) and the World 100 (September 5, 6 & 7), rank as two of the nation’s most respected Late Model races and drivers consider any track time obtained prior to them to be valuable track time.
The first 2013 opportunity for Late Model teams to capture Eldora track time will be with the 60th Season Opener this Saturday (April 13). Headlining the tripleheader program will be the Sunoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) and their chase for a $2,000 payday in the 25-lap A-Feature event. Joining the UMP DIRTcar Late Model sanctioned series will be the Modified (also under the UMP banner) and Stock Car divisions.
With the opportunity to get some laps around Eldora and knowledge towards chassis set-up, the field of entries at any Late Model event nearly always brings in some surprise entries. A reflection upon previous ALMS runs at Eldora demonstrates the value of participating and running more laps around the .500 mile clay oval. The ALMS feature win list includes such notables as Billy Moyer (Dream and World 100 winner), Darrell Lanigan (Dream winner), Brian Birkhofer (World 100 winner), Donnie Moran (Dream, World 100 and Eldora Million winner), Josh Richards (World of Outlaws Late Model champion) plus Dennis Erb, Jr. and Rusty Schlenk, both of who have captured UMP National Championship titles.
Complete event information, along with ticket and campsite purchase opportunities, may be obtained by visiting the track’s website www.EldoraSpeedway.com, or by calling the speedway office at (937) 338-3815. Additionally, race fans and race teams can get behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, hitting ‘Like’ at Facebook.com/EldoraSpeedway and view video highlights at YouTube.com/EldoraSpeedwayInc. The new Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android is now available for download via iTunes and Google Play.