NEW WESTON, Ohio— In a mid-week spectacle, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series thunders to Eldora Speedway for the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio. This race will feature qualifying, five heats, and a main event. The main event will be broken into stage lengths of 40, 50, and 60 laps.
For qualifying, teams will go in order of a random draw. Teams will complete two laps of single car runs. The fastest driver will be awarded the Keystone Pole Award at the end of the qualifying session. Qualifying determines what heat a driver will be in.
Each heat will consist of 10 green flag laps only. The top-five in each heat will be automatically entered into the main feature. Those drivers who do not advance will compete in the last chance heat. The last chance heat will be 15 green flag laps, where the top-two finishers will advance. The rest of the field will be filled per the rule book.
In the main event, the caution laps between stages will not count. Teams will have the option to pit during the caution. Teams who chose to pit will start behind those who did not pit. Positions cannot be improved on pit road.
There have been four events at Eldora Speedway. There have been four different pole winners and race winners. No races have been won from the pole position. In 2013, Austin Dillon set the race record at 67.401 mph. Ken Schrader set the qualifying record in 2013 at 91.329 mph.
Drivers are excited for a new challenge this week.
"Last year Eldora was a lot of fun. I think the fans really enjoy seeing the Truck Series race on dirt, it adds some excitement to the summer stretch. This is Harrison's first race on dirt so we are just going to go out there and do our best and see how he does in practice and qualifying. Harrison is smart and a quick learner, so I am confident Wednesday night will be a fun one to watch,” said Harrison Burton.
"I don't know if any of my dirt track experience from ARCA is going to help me in Eldora. The tracks I've run at, DuQuoin and Springfield, in the ARCA Racing Series are one mile, flat tracks, and Eldora is obviously a short track with some high banking. So, its definitely going to be different, but I am really looking forward to it,” said Grant Enfinger.
Qualifying will be held on Fox Sports 1 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The heat races will air on Fox Sports 2 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The main event will air on Fox Business Network beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT. Motor Racing Network will have radio coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Fans who do not have Fox Business Network, but have Fox Sports 1 will be able to stream the Eldora Dirt Derby on the Fox Sports GO app, depending on if their provider has a contract.
Despite earning the pole position, Kyle Larson will start from the rear of the field in the Overton’s 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
During post-qualifying inspection, NASCAR found the car to have an unapproved rear deck fin lid. Larson’s time was disallowed. Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole.
According to NASCAR, the rear deck fin lid passed pre-qualifying inspection, but was considered out of spec in post-race qualifying. The rear deck fin lid was found to have been moved lower during qualifying. The part is not designed to adjust, but NASCAR found that the part was made to adjust.
"Not the way we wanted to get our first pole of the year, but looking forward to starting up front and getting a good pit stall,” said Truex. This will be his first pole of the season. Truex posted a speed of 133.077 mph.
Truex will start from the pole. Jimmie Johnson will start second, Matt Kenseth will start third, Jamie McMurray will start fourth, and Kasey Kahne will round out the top-five.
There will be no further penalties for Larson’s team.
Kyle Larson will start from the pole in Sunday’s Overton’s 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the fourth time of 2017.
“Our Target Chevy has been really fast all day. It has a lot of speed. Like I really don’t have to drive that hard and it just makes a lot of speed. So, that is good. We are missing Chad (Johnston, crew chief) this weekend and for the next couple of weeks, so good to rebound with a pole,” said Larson. “That is pretty strong out of our organization. I’ve got a great lineup of guys and gals. Hats off to everybody at the shop. It’s been so much fun this year. I have never really been a great qualifier, but this is our fourth pole of the season.”
The first round of qualifying was delayed for 20 minutes. Despite being delayed, numerous teams were still sitting in the inspection line as the round began. Luckily, all teams were able to pass inspection. Larson was fastest in the round at 133.189 mph. Erik Jones was second fastest at 132.172 mph. Jamie McMurray was third fastest at 132.149 mph. Chase Elliott was fourth fastest at 131.906 mph. Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five at 131.856 mph. All drivers will race in the race on Sunday. Notable drivers who did not advance include Ryan Newman (P25), Austin Dillon (P27), Trevor Bayne (P28), and Danica Patrick (P31).
In the second round of qualifying, Larson was fastest at 133.436 mph. Kyle Busch was second fastest at 132.706 mph. E. Jones was third fastest at 132.370 mph. Martin Truex, Jr. was fourth fastest at 132.287 mph. McMurray rounded out the top-five at 132.222 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the final round include Kevin Harvick (P13), Joey Logano (P14), Ryan Blaney (P16), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (P19).
Larson posted the pole winning speed at 133.324 mph. Truex Jr will start second with his speed of 133.077 mph. Jimmie Johnson will start third with his speed of 132.688 mph. Matt Kenseth will start fourth with his speed of 132.324 mph. McMurray rounded out the top-five with his speed of 132.071 mph. Kahne, E. Jones, Ky. Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch round out the top-10.
The Overton’s 301 will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 16th.
Despite winning at Richmond International Raceway, Joey Logano is still looking to fight for his way into the NASCAR Playoffs.
Logano was received an encumbered penalty at Richmond, which stripped his win away for use towards the playoffs. Logano’s car was found to have a trailing arm spacer that was not in complete contact with its corresponding surfaces.
As a result, Logano lost Todd Gordon, his crew chief, for two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points events.
Before the penalty, Logano had an average eight place finish in the first eight events. Before Richmond, Logano led 218 laps. After the penalty, Logano’s average finish was 21.8, while only leading 163 laps in eight races.
However, Logano does not believe the penalty from Richmond is the reason for the slump.
“I think we know what it is and I don’t think it is that. That was so small that it didn’t make our car faster. That is the unfortunate part. it wasn’t something we were trying to do, it was something that happened after the race and it was a 32nd-of-an-inch,” Logano stated.
Logano attributes the struggles to crashing and new different body modifications to the cars.
“After Richmond, we had three crashes in a row. There were some different modifications to our bodies that NASCAR started regulating that took some performance away from our cars and we have to try to make that up. That is kind of the biggest thing right now,” said Logano.
Logano is now in a precarious position sitting right on the bubble of either making the playoffs or sitting out. Logano is currently in a battle with Matt Kenseth for that final playoff position.
“It is going to be a battle to the end for sure. I feel like both the race teams are really good. Both the race teams have fought for championships before. It is kind of interesting that we are both in this unique position right now trying to make the playoffs,” said Logano.
Logano is surprised that he is in the position that he is in, but knows that hard work will be an important key. The biggest key for the No. 22 team and Team Penske as a whole, it is about finding more speed.
“Our team is still capable of winning. We do have to get a little more speed in our cars. I think that is apparent. We have to be able to make our cars faster,” Logano stated.
Logano and his No. 22 team only have eight more chances to either win or score the most points to be able to run for a championship beginning in September.
With the announcement of Erik Jones returning to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in 2017, the future of Furniture Row Racing (FRR) remaining a two-car organization came into question.
The announcement of Jones leaving FRR was expedited after Matt Kenseth made comments last weekend at Kentucky Speedway that he would not be returning to JGR in 2018.
Currently, Jones pilots the No. 77 Toyota for FRR. The car number currently has a charter, purchased from Premium Motorsports over the 2016 offseason.
“It was exciting going to two cars and I know it was something that Barney has thought about and talked about for a long time and I know his plans originally were not for this team to be a one year deal,” said Truex Jr. about the organization moving to a two car organization in 2017.
Truex has seen improvements in the young team throughout the season. Being the veteran driver, Truex has seen the benefits of having a teammate like Jones.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Erik (Jones). He’s been a good teammate. He’s a great kid. Love talking to him and hearing his point of view and things, so it would have been nice to have him for a couple years,” Truex stated. “That program I feel like just keeps getting stronger each and every week and they had a good run last weekend and it’s a shame to see that happen that quickly
Reiterating what he said at Kentucky, Barney Visser, team owner, released a statement about the future of FRR being a two car organization.
"We are working on our team plans for 2018 but don't have anything concrete to report at this time except that Martin Truex Jr. will continue to drive the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota,” Visser stated.
Despite 2018 plans being up in the air, Truex Jr. doesn’t believe the organization would change if they went back to a one car organization. Truex believes the strongest part of the team is that everybody know what they are doing really well.
“We’ve got a really, really tight group of guys that have done a good job working together over the last few year and have a lot of trust and confidence in each other and I think one of the strongest parts of our team is just everybody doing their own jobs and understanding what they are and doing them really well, so I don’t see anything changing,” said Truex.
Despite the uncertain future for a two car organization. Truex is leaving those issues to Visser and Joe Garone, FRR team president.
“I’ll leave that up to Barney (Visser, team owner) and Joe (Garone, team president) and everybody that runs the show,” said Truex.
Truex has scaled to 28 playoff points over the 2017 season. He has three wins, six top-fives, and 12 top-10 finishes. He has lead 1,115 laps.
In his inaugural season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Jones has one top-five, five top-10’s, and has led 31 laps.