Memorial Day Weekend Provides Rare Sunday Time Slot For Busy Show
ROSSBURG, OH (May 21) – Taking advantage of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, Eldora Speedway will be moving to a rare Sunday night time slot this weekend (May 25) as the facility hosts its busiest and longest standing traditional event – the Johnny Appleseed Classic by Miller Lite.
The Sunday menu includes four divisions of racing; with each competing in a full slate of preliminary Heat races, B-Features as necessary and A-Features of varying lengths. Headlining the quartet of competition will be the Sunoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) in their second 2014 Eldora Appearance and the winged National Racing Association (NRA) Sprint Invaders in their season debut. Joining them, as they continue their battle towards Eldora championship titles, will be the United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) DIRTcar Modifieds and Eldora Stock Car divisions.
As a tribute to American nurseryman legend Johnny Appleseed, the annual event actually took root in 1970 at Mansfield Raceway, which was under the ownership of Eldora founder Earl Baltes. In 1988 Baltes moved the event to Eldora, where it has remained a fixture, even through the sale of Eldora from Baltes to three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart in 2004.
The dirt Late Model division has always been the headlining division in the storied 43-year history of the Appleseed. Originally held during the fall season to honor Appleseed’s (John Chapman) September birth date, the race was moved to its current Memorial weekend time slot in 2008. With the seasonal move, the Appleseed now serves as a tune-up of sorts for the rich $100,000 to win Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Mowers, which is held two weekends later – June 5-6-7.
Double duty driver Jeff Babcock (Wayne, OH) is the defending Appleseed champion. In addition to the defense of his title behind the wheel of a Late Model, Babcock will be chasing his third 2014 Eldora Modified victory as well.
Coming off a 2013 season of parity that produced four winners in as many events; the NRA Sprint Invaders will be making their 2014 Eldora debut Sunday. Ron Blair (Troy, OH), Tim Shaffer (Aliquippa, PA) and Kevin Swindell (Germantown, TN) captured their initial Eldora/NRA wins last year, while Darren Long (Elida, OH) increased his total to nine wins. J.R. Stewart (Bellefontaine, OH), with one previous Eldora victory, comes into the busy weekend with the NRA point lead.
Defending Modified champion Jerry Bowersock (Wapakoneta, OH) is using consistency to cling on to a slim three-point margin over Matt Westfall (Ludlow Falls, OH) as their season-long title pursuit continues. While Westfall has two wins compared to Bowersock’s none, all of Bowersock’s finishes have been among the top six. A 24th place finish on Westfall’s scorecard has prevented him from overtaking the top spot. Meanwhile, three drivers are deadlocked in third position, fourteen points behind Bowersock. Ryan Sutter (Coldwater, OH), Jesse Bitterling (Star City, IN) and Brandon Vaughan (Spencerville, OH) will be eyeing Sunday’s action to alter their positions.
Last season’s Stock Car Rookie of the Year, Chris Douglas (Lima, OH) is leading fellow Lima driver Jeff Koz in that division’s chase, with a somewhat comfortable thirteen point cushion.
Ticketing information for Sunday’s Johnny Appleseed Classic by Miller Lite, or any of Eldora’s other upcoming major events can be found on the track’s website www.EldoraSpeedway.com or can be obtained by calling the speedway office (937) 338-3815 during normal business hours. 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. Mobile device users can access the Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android which is available for download via iTunes and Google Play.