Mudsummer Classic: 5 Ringers Who Can Win Wednesday at Eldora
Five Ringers That Can Win Wednesday at Eldora
Eldora Speedway in Ohio will be transformed from an elite dirt track to the forefront of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series world on Wednesday. For the first time in an entire generation, a NASCAR national touring series will return to a dirt track, and this time everyone will be watching,
It could succeed spectacularly or it could end disastrously, and the result should set a precedent for how NASCAR expands its schedule in the future and expands the variety of future schedules. If the race is a success, it will also be a resounding last hurrah for SPEED Channel, which is now gone and merged into Fox Sports 1.
Due to the nature of the event, equipment is less meaningful and driver experience means a lot more, similar to road course events in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at events such as Road America and Sonoma.
A myriad of dirt track drivers have descended upon the half-mile Ohio track in search of an elite and inaugural victory against incredible competition. Large teams such as Turner-Scott Motorsports have been able to run a maximum number of trucks for drivers such as Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson. Despite a road course ringer not having won a road course race in over 1973, a dirt track winner can win Wednesday due to the heat race format of the race.
Meanwhile, there are independent drivers, such as Ken Schrader, who are once again able to contend despite being on a limited budget. Drivers like Dave Blaney, who struggle mightily at non-restrictor plate tracks are now favorites both on track and in the grandstands. Here are the top five non-regular drivers most likely to win at Eldora.
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No. 5: Tracy Hines
Tracy Hines is not a name most NASCAR fans remember, but he is a seasoned veteran in very good equipment. The current USAC driver has a decent repertoire on both asphalt and dirt, having driven for cars owned by Tony Stewart. Driving for ThorSport and not having to qualify in will only give Hines confidence as he reaffirms himself with a Camping World Truck.
No. 4: Ken Schrader
Ken Schrader may no longer be a household name in NASCAR, but he is still finding victory lane, most recently in the ARCA Racing series earlier this year. Schrader has a lot of experience in late models, and will see sponsor Federated Auto Parts return. At a track where equipment is not at a premium, Schrader may be able to surprise.
No. 3: Dave Blaney
Tony Stewart may own Eldora, but Dave Blaney owns Eldora. When the payday is highest and the spotlight brightest, Dave Blaney will find his way into victory lane. In a Brad Keselowski Racing truck, Blaney can prosper and maybe find himself as the inaugural winner of the Mudsummer Classic.
No. 2: Scott Bloomquist
Scott Bloomquist is a dirt late model legend, having amassed hundreds of feature wins throughout the years. Although he has never driven a truck under race conditions, he will be driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, an up-and-coming team. His crew chief Ryan Fugle has two wins on the season with Kyle Busch, while earning a top-five with Erik Jones this year as well.
No. 1: Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson is perhaps the best of the new breed of drivers. While elite drivers would formerly focus only on one series, Larson and other drivers like Kyle Busch will run thousands of miles in a weekend. 2011 saw Larson put on a legendary USAC performance, winning in three different classes at Eldora in one night. Larson notched his first win in the truck series this year and can win again at a track he dominates.
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