NASCAR returns to its roots this week when the NASCAR Ca.m.ping World Truck Series slings dirt at Eldora Speedway for the third consecutive year. Tony Stewart’s dirt track in Ohio hosts NASCAR’s only national series dirt race on Wednesday, July 22, live on FOX Sports 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Beginning with practice on FOX Sports 1 at 10:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, FOX Sports offers nine hours of live coverage from Eldora, the series’ 11th stop of the season, including practice, qualifying, five 10-lap qualifying races and the feature race (9:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). The 150-lap race is divided into three segments of 60, 50 and 40 with competition cautions at the breaks at laps 60 and 110.
The inaugural Mud Summer Classic drew several Cup Series regulars and non-NASCAR dirt-track legends, and continues to attract competitors outside the Truck Series. Confirmed for Eldora are 2012 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion Brad Keselowski, the first past Cup Series champion to compete at Eldora; inaugural Mud Summer Classic winner Austin Dillon; NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Ty Dillon; and 2013 Eldora pole sitter Ken Schrader. The Dillon brothers first competed at Eldora in Dirt Late Models and have vast dirt experience, as does Schrader.
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Keselowski, however, hits dirt for the first time ever this week but has the experience of his Brad Keselowski Racing teammate and dirt ace, Tyler Reddick, to lean on should he need it. In 2012, Reddick became the youngest driver ever to start the World 100 at Eldora and is the youngest to win a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series feature event. Also entered is Christopher Bell, who earned 26 feature wins on dirt in 2014, including wins in Midgets (18), Winged Sprint Cars (four) and Non-Winged Sprint Cars (four). Bell also is the 2013 United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget Champion and the 2013 USAC Midget Rookie of the Year.
Ralph Sheheen, who has called countless dirt races, including numerous races at Eldora, calls the action all day with analysis from Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. Hermie Sadler, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum report from pit road.
NCWTS SETUP, hosted by John Roberts with analysis from two-time series champ Todd Bodine and Ray Dunlap, sets the stage at 8:30 p.m. ET. Featured in the pre-race show are: A look back at Matt Crafton‘s win in the series’ last outing at Kentucky Speedway; a flashback to Darrell Wallace Jr.‘s 2014 victory at Eldora; a piece on Austin Dillon‘s 2013 Eldora win; and a feature on John Hunter Nemechek, who recently turned 18 and thus became eligible to run the entire Truck Series schedule, focusing on lessons he has learned and the biggest challenges ahead for him at Eldora.
At 7:00 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports GO offer live coverage (FOX Sports 1 simulcasts the final 30 minutes of the session at 8:00 p.m. ET) of the five 10-lap qualifying races, held per dirt-track tradition, that set the field for the feature race. Trucks with top-five speeds in each of the five qualifying races transfer to the feature. Starting lineup for the qualifying races is set based on qualifying speeds from the single-truck qualifying session, live on FOX Sports 2 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The top-five trucks in single-truck qualifying start on the pole position for their respective qualifying races.
A 15-lap Last-Chance Qualifier (LCQ) is staged immediately following the conclusion of the five qualifying races and is also live on FOX Sports 2. The top-two finishers from the LCQ transfer to the feature and start in positions 26 and 27. Only 32 trucks start the race.
Heading into Eldora, two-time and defending champion MattCrafton leads Tyler Reddick (-20), followed by Erik Jones (-29), Johnny Sauter (-58) and John Wes Townley (-87) after 10 races.
FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content at home or on the go, offers live streaming of all NASCAR programming in 2015. Customers of participating video providers may access the live streams of the race through the FOX Sports GO app for iOS devices, as well as on desktops through FOXSportsGO.com. For the latest NASCAR news and information, please visit www.FOXSports.com and follow @NASCARonFOX on Twitter.
Below are quotes from play-by-play announcer Ralph Sheheen and the full FOX NASCAR programming schedule from Eldora Speedway:
SHEHEEN ON WHETHER LESSONS LEARNED ON DIRT ARE APPLICABLE TO ASPHALT/CONCRETE RACING: "The biggest thing you learn racing on dirt is car control — finding the right level of aggression with the gas, brakes and steering; the balance between going fast and losing traction. Being able to go fast on dirt gives you the knowledge and skills to go fast on pavement."
SHEHEEN SAYS REIGNING CHAMP CRAFTON IS MOST IMPROVED ON DIRT IN THE FIRST TWO ELDORA TRUCK SERIES RACES: "The two-time and reigning Truck Series champion Matt Crafton has had two finishes at Eldora in the top 10. A top five this week would be a huge boost towards another title this year."
SHEHEEN ON HIS PICK TO WIN AT ELDORA: "I like Tyler Reddick. Not only has he been fast all year, but he began his racing career in Dirt Late Models and sprint cars and had a lot of success."
SHEHEEN ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE TRUCK SERIES RACE AT ELDORA AFTER TWO YEARS: "Now that the drivers and competitors have raced this event a couple of times, they have a good idea of what to expect. That helps them with Truck preparation and race strategy."
NASCAR ON FOX SPORTS 1 & FOX SPORTS 2
AT ELDORA SPEEDWAY PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE
*All times live/Eastern unless otherwise indicated & subject to change
Wednesday, July 22
NCWTS PRACTICE (10:30-11:30 a.m.) (FS1)
NCWTS FINAL PRACTICE (11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.) (FS1)
NCWTS QUALIFYING (SINGLE-TRUCK) (5:00-6:30 p.m.) (FS2)
NASCAR RACE HUB (6:30-7:00 p.m.) (FS2)
NCWTS QUALIFYING RACES (five) (7:00-8:30 p.m.) (FS2) (Simulcast on FS1 8:00-8:30 p.m.)