The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series gets down and dirty at Eldora Speedway for the Mudsummer Classic Wednesday night.
Last year’s race was the first time any NASCAR series ran on dirt since Richard Petty won a Cup race at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in 1970.
2013 Nationwide Series (NNS) champ Austin Dillon started from the 19th position to win the inaugural Mudsummer Classic last July.
Although Dillon won the race, many remember Norm Benning’s dramatic run in the last chance qualifier to get into the main event. Benning fought with Clay Greenfield for the last spot as the two beat and banged, but the No. 57 of Benning came out on top.
Even though the truck had some damage, the team and help from others allowed Benning to compete in the main event. The Pennsylvania driver has a different number this year, driving the No. 6. He will drive the number for the rest of the season.
Richard Childress Racing (RCR) makes its return to trucks on Wednesday with both Austin and Ty Dillon. Austin will sport a different number in this year’s race, driving the No. 2 from his No. 39 last year. Ty has a different approach to Wednesday night, as he doesn’t have to worry about points like last year. The Mudsummer Classic will be one of two scheduled truck races for RCR, as Austin will drive the No. 3 truck at Pocono Raceway next weekend with sponsorship from Yuengling Light.
The driver who finished runner-up in last year’s race, Kyle Larson, also returns to the Mudsummer Classic this year. Larson will drive the No. 32 Glad Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports and will look to make it one spot better this time around.
Ken Schrader also returns to Eldora this season, already having a lot of dirt experience over his career. He won the pole for last year’s race, but didn’t have a strong showing during the race. It could change tonight as Schrader hasn’t won in the series since his lone win at Saugus Speedway in 1995.
As good as Schrader is on the dirt, a dark horse for the race could be Tyler Reddick. Reddick also has dirt experience and could surprise some people in Wednesday night’s race.
While some of these drivers having nothing to lose at Eldora, the championship talks are just as important. Matt Crafton comes into Wednesday’s race with a two-point lead on Ryan Blaney.
Blaney has turned up the wick here as of late and finished runner-up to Erik Jones in the series’ last race at Iowa Speedway. The 20-year-old has been knocking on the door of victory lane this season and may find it soon enough.
Heading into Eldora, the top eight drivers in points are only separated by 37 points. The Mudsummer Classic can be considered as a wildcard and could see another shake-up in the points after Wednesday night’s race.
The one-day show at Eldora starts with time trials as the trucks try to lay down their fastest laps and decide which heat race they will be a part of. The heat races will take place after time trials and will set up the field for the main feature. There is also a last chance qualifier for those who haven’t gotten into the Mudsummer Classic yet.
The second annual Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway will be live at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and will also be the last broadcast for FOX Sports announcer Rick Allen, as he moves on to his new gig at NBC Sports for their NASCAR coverage. Adam Alexander and Steve Byrnes will rotate duties for the truck races on FOX Sports in place of Allen for the rest of the season.
Currently, I’m a journalism student in college who enjoys the sport of racing. I've been following NASCAR in-depth since 2001.
Along with my love of racing, I’m also into baseball, football (college & pro), and college basketball.
I also have my own website, The Life of Kyle, where I write about various topics.
And to get my feet wet into radio, I have my own show called Overdrive. I started it with my friend. Since we can’t record together most of the time, we have our own versions. I cover NASCAR and ARCA, and he takes Formula One and IndyCar.
Not forgetting to mention, I have my own YouTube channel as well.
As for race tracks, I’ve gone to races at Pocono, Watkins Glen, Daytona, Dover, Loudon and a few local short tracks as well. I hope to cross the Indianapolis 500 off my list in the future. I hope to become a man of many hats.