After a 43-year absence, NASCAR returned to its racing roots on dirt during Wednesday night’s Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway and both fans in attendance as well as those watching witnessed some of the most exciting competition that has been seen in years. In fact, this writer could barely keep her head on anything else all day as I thought about having the opportunity to watch a race that I knew would keep me on the edge of my seat.
Starting with a legend on the pole, who actually earned his first place starting position, to the last lap battle between dirt track phenoms Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman, who wouldn’t be excited? Obviously not the fans in attendance, competing drivers or even track owner Tony Stewart who saw a standing room only crowd.
In fact, Stewart said, “if I had a dollar for every time somebody said ‘thank you’ in the last 48 hours, we’d be able to pay the purse again.”
Race winner, Austin Dillon, also couldn’t have put it any better after climbing out of his mud covered No. 39, “This is real racing, right here.” That is an understatement…this is the kind of racing that many NASCAR fans have been waiting for over the last few years, which was quite obvious after seeing the reaction from fans in the stands on Wednesday night.
Now the question remains, will this kind of racing be seen far into the future of this sport or will we continue to be subjected to the follow the leader tracks that fans are obviously avoiding these days? Although NASCAR president Mike Helton has mentioned that he was encouraged by the “level of the excitement” the Mudsummer Classic generated, he failed to go into detail as to whether the Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series could also make a return to their racing roots in the future.
“I wanted to see this race here and I compliment Tony (Stewart) on this facility and doing what he’s done in giving us the opportunity to bring the Truck Series. How far that goes, we will have to wait and see.”
Keep in mind, Mr. Helton we fans are what really keep this sport alive and if you continue to subject us to hum drum racing, which I am hoping that we won’t see at Indy this weekend, we will just tune out!