The Eldora Dirt Derby is one of the biggest races for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. This historic race is one of the most unique races on the Truck Series schedule. Along with Daytona, Talladega, Canada and Bristol, you could say Eldora is a wildcard, as well, to the series. The Eldora Dirt Derby is a national attraction for the series and as always, expect another exciting race for the sixth annual Eldora Dirt Derby Wednesday night.
There are 40 entries on the preliminary entry list as for this week in a list of who-who.
There will be 14 dirt track stars making their Truck Series debut but are no stranger to dirt racing. These include Chris Windom in the No. 54, Kyle Strickler in the No. 63, Logan Seavey in the No. 51, Max McLaughlin in the No. 38, Tyler Dipple in the No. 17, and J.R. Heffner in the No. 15, John Provenzano will be the oldest driver in the field, 63, making his debut in the No. 03 Mike Affarano entry. These dirt track stars have a built-in resume that includes Six Silver Crown wins, 180 dirt modified wins, a midget driver, 60+ wins, and a K&N driver.
The rest making their track debut include Austin Hill, John Provenzano, Todd Gilliland, Myatt Snider, Brett Moffitt, Tyler Dippel, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Fontaine, Nick Hoffman, Max McLaughlin, Logan Norman Seavey, Kyle Strickler, Trevor Collins and RJ Otto Jr.
Chase Briscoe will make his series return driving the No. 27 Thorsport’s fifth entry.
Ryan Newman will be fielding the No.3 entry of Jordan Anderson Racing. It’ll be Newman’s first start of the series since 2015 where he drove the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports entry at Kansas when he started fourth and finished second. It’ll be the first time at Eldora since 2013 when he drove the Turner Motorsports entry and finished third.
Here’s who to expect that might end up in victory lane in Wednesday nights annual running at Eldora.
- Matt Crafton – It will be the one year anniversary since the two-time champion has scored a win in the series. His last win came at this very track after leading 24 laps and finishing first and ninth in both stages, respectively. Crafton got some dirt exposure this past weekend driving his modified at Oakshade Raceway. He’s been driving his modified whenever his schedule will allow. Crafton has competed in all five races, earning one win, one top five and five top-10 finishes, averaging a 10.4 start and a 7.4 finish. Nonetheless, after a somewhat forgettable season so far, the series veteran will be hungry to get his first win of the season and lock himself in the 2018 Truck Series Playoffs.
- Stewart Friesen – This will be Friesen’s playground this week and could be his chance to park it in victory lane for his first career win. Like the other dirt track stars, Friesen is a dirt track standout of his own, driving in the Super DIRTCar Series. He has amassed over 260 wins dirt tracks across the United States since 1999. Friesen currently drives Big-Block Modifieds. Eldora is a special place for the No. 52 Halmar Racing driver. It’s where he made his series debut in 2016 starting 16th but he disappointingly finished 28th due to a crash on Lap 111. However, this opportunity led him to make more series starts before going part-time in 2017, and full-time this year. In last year’s race, Friesen started on the pole and finished second after leading 93 laps. He won Stage 1 and finished second in Stage 2.
- Chase Briscoe – Briscoe is back competing in the Truck Series Wednesday night. This time, however, he is competing in the No 27 ThorSport Racing entry. It will be the team’s fifth entry. But Briscoe is no stranger to the series nor dirt, as he competed full-time last year driving for the now defunct Brad Keselowski Racing team. He competed in the Dirt Derby last year finishing third after starting 12th. Briscoe also brings dirt experience having driven quarter midget and 410 Sprint Cars. He also is the youngest winner to earn a victory in the 410 Sprint Car Series. Currently, Briscoe competes in a family-owned team in all kinds of series on dirt.
- Tanner Thorson – If there is an upset winner this week in the Truck Series, it could very well be the No. 20 of Tanner Thorson, but if it’s on dirt, his fans know it wouldn’t really be an upset. Thorson is a decorated dirt track star driving in the TRI-C No.3C Sprint Car and Midget team. In past years, Thorson drove in the Keith Kunz Motorsports and earned 25 midget wins. Other stats include 2013 Midget National Rookie of The Year, 2015-2017 National Midget Driver of the Year, and he won the 2016 USAC National Midget Championship. This year, Thorson is competing in pretty much everything dirt. This includes Midgets, POWRI National Midget, USCS 360 Wing Sprint Car, World of Outlaws, Civil War 360 Wing Sprint Cars, KWS 410 Sprint Car, and in the SCCT 360 Sprint Car series. In the Truck Series this year, he has two starts with those coming in Dover and Iowa. The best finish was 13th at Iowa. It’ll be interesting to see how the decorated dirt star competes against the series regulars when dirt comes into his favor.
- John Hunter Nemechek – When it comes to dirt, you wouldn’t think of Nemechek as a contender for the win. However, in the past four starts, he only has one finish outside the top-10 which came in 2016 after some issues during the race. His other finishes include sixth, seventh, and fifth in last year’s race. Nemechek even led 11 laps in the previous race after finishing third in both stages. In his four starts, it has brought him an average start of 11.8 and an average finish of 10.5, with 12 laps led. He’ll be hungry to get to victory lane as one slipped away at Chicago, where he ran out of gas on the last lap on the back straight, ultimately finishing seventh.
In the past five races, there have been five different winners including Matt Crafton, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Darrell Wallace Jr., and the first event winner Austin Dillon. The lowest a winner has ever come from the field to win was 19th in 2013 from Dillon. The highest starting spot came in last year’s race where Crafton started second and won.
Two practices are scheduled for Tuesday night with the first one taking place at 7:05 p.m. ET and the final practice is slated for 9:05 p.m. ET, with no live TV coverage.
Qualifying for the heat races is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:35 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. There will be five heat races starting at 7 p.m. ET. All five heat races will consist of 10 laps to set the starting lineup.
Live coverage begins at 9 p.m ET Wednesday on Fox Sports 1 and MRN Radio, with the approximate green flag at 9:15 p.m. ET. Stages are broken into 40/50/60 for a total of 150 laps.