NASCAR Returns To Dirt Track Racing With Rave Reviews; More To Come?
Last night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series CarCash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway gave fans "raised on asphalt and stock cars a taste of the slides and wall-banging that are staples" of dirt track racing, and it "looks like NASCAR will have to come back," according to Dan Gelston of the AP. The speedway was "absolutely packed," with about 20,000 fans "spread out on the grassy hills or creaky wooden bleachers; most seats with a hand-painted number." They also "camped out along the street entering the track." The fans "got quite a show," as the trucks "skidded and slid around the track, mashed and bashed against the wall and doors, living up to the hype of one of the most anticipated races of the season in any NASCAR series." Driver Ryan Newman said, "I think our sport really needed something different. I think it's a monumental day. It's something special. It's over tonight, but hopefully it happens again." Gelston wrote there "sure seemed to be more excitement for the Truck Series race" than for this Sunday's Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (AP, 7/24). SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass wrote the trucks were "slower than what fans were used to at the banked half-mile track, which was virtually rock-hard for most of the race." But the speed "didn't matter as much as just trying something new -- something different but in a historic venue in front of passionate fans" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/24).
CATCH ME RIDIN' DIRTY: USA TODAY's Jeff Gluck writes the race "should be the catalyst for change in the sport, the kind of moment that lays the groundwork for the future." The trucks were "heavy, clumsy and painfully slow." It featured "only one wreck." and "no side-by-side finish." But the race "was still 10 times better than many of the events held on 1.5-mile cookie cutter tracks used by the Sprint Cup Series." There was "entertainment from start to finish -- something that can't be said about many NASCAR races these days" (USATODAY.com, 7/25). YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg writes the race "went from novelty to mainstay in the span of three hours." Bromberg: "If you watched and weren't entertained, I don't know what to tell you" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/25). NASCAR President Mike Helton said of the event, "It not only gives up a Wednesday night level of excitement, it also gives us, NASCAR, and motorsports in general, an opportunity to show dirt track racing to the world." He added, "What the future holds? We'll see, but I know tonight is something everybody is going to check off and say that was a historic moment" ("NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda," Speed, 7/24).