Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Dillon leads final 62 laps to earn win at Eldora
By Mike Ernst
NASCAR truck driver Austin Dillon hoists the winner's trophy after racing to a. . .
ROSSBURG - Last October when NASCAR and Eldora Speedway held the first testing session at the track to see if the Camping World Truck Series could compete on the one-half mile, dirt oval, Austin Dillon was involved.
On Wednesday night Dillon, the grandson of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner Richard Childress, took the lead from Kyle Larson on lap 88 and held off Larson and Ryan Newman the remaining laps to capture the inaugural CarCash Mudsummer Classic presented by CNBC and The Profit.
"It's amazing, man," said Dillon after climbing from his truck. "I love this dirt racing. It's so much fun. This is real racing right here."
Dillon started the 30-truck, 150-lap feature event in the 19th position but started to work his way forward at the drop of the green flag.
"We started back in 19th and had to come a long way," said Dillon. "We picked a couple up running around the bottom and then just got in line. I could get my car turned a little better coming into the corners and then have drive coming off the corner and that is where I made a bunch of passes."
Larson wasted little time charging to the lead from his 11th starting position, wrestling the lead away from Timothy Peters on lap 39. Larson led the remainder of the first 60-lap segment before the mandatory caution flag.
Larson benefitted from lapped traffic on his drive to the front, but then the lapped trucks were his nemesis. While slicing through the field, Larson bobbled briefly on lap 88 allowing Dillon to slide under him and into the lead.
"We had the best truck for sure," said Larson. "I just got overly excited in lapped traffic and got into the back of somebody and Austin got by."
The slick Eldora surface had a fast lane just inches from the outside retaining wall. Choosing the outside lane on restarts, Dillon was able to get the jump on the second-place truck, starting on the inside.
On the restart beginning the final 40-lap segment, former Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman maneuvered around Larson and into the second position and the lead trio pulled away from the remainder of the field.
Larson and Newman battled for the second position throughout the closing laps but while they battled each other, Dillon was stretching his lead. Finally, Larson made a bold inside move around Newman for the runner-up position as the leaders raced under the white flag but ran out of time in his chase of Dillon. Larson had to settle for second place, 1.197 seconds behind Dillon.
"I kept screwing up my shifts on the restarts," said Larson. "I used my teammate (Newman) up there a little bit and I knew we had the fastest truck here tonight, but we finished second. I wanted to win the first Truck race at Eldora."
Newman held on to finish in third place ahead of Joey Coulter and Brendan Gaughan.
"I had brakes, but it took five or six pumps," said Newman. "You don't need brakes here anyway, it is just a confidence builder."
Timothy Peters, Darrell Wallace Jr., Camping World Truck Series point's leader Matt Crafton, Dave Blaney and Max Gresham rounded out the top 10.
Ken Schrader was the fastest qualifier for the event and then went on to claim the first heat race to earn the pole starting position. Schrader led the first 15 laps before Peters moved into the top spot. Schrader finished 14th.
It was a long night for Eldora veteran Scott Bloomquist. The six-time winner of the $100,000 Dream and three-time winner of the prestigious World 100, struggled near the back of the field all night, finishing two laps down in 25th place.
Former Eldora Stock Car champion Jeff Babcock, sponsored by Best Performance Motorsports of St. Marys, qualified for the feature event but his truck lost power when his engine expired on the 63rd lap and was officially scored in the 30th position of the 30-car field.
Prior to the truck event, Jacob Hawkins and Duane Chamberlain, driving cars owned by Bill Dues of St. Henry, held the top two positions for the entire 25-lap late model chase with Hawkins capturing his first Eldora win and Chamberlain finishing runner-up.