The truck race Wednesday night at the Eldora Speedway dirt track might’ve been the best NASCAR event of the entire season.
But it also demonstrated why such a race will likely never be part of the Sprint Cup schedule.
The race was dominated by a couple of youngsters who grew up on dirt, Christopher Bell and Bobby Pierce. Bell won the Mud Summer Classic in a stirring duel with Pierce in the kind of race we just don’t see anymore at the highest levels of NASCAR.
And there’s a reason for that. Other than the Dillon brothers, who can drive the wheels off of anything with wheels on it, the stock-car boys are lost on dirt.
Watching 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski flail around the historic track in Ohio was like watching a comedy show. In fact, the entire race looked like a celebrity race at Bowman Gray.
The 154-lap free-for-all was slowed by 13 cautions for 61 laps. Despite several veterans of Sprint and XFinity drivers in the field, it was amateur hour. Keselowski, one of a handful of current racers who have won in all three major NASCAR divisions, was in his first-ever dirt-track race.
His crew chief said afterward that Keselowski probably would never race on dirt again.
That’s probably true. No way NASCAR would ever embarrass the entire sport by putting its best drivers on a slick track with no clue how to drive it. Bell was in his second race ever in the Truck Series. Pierce was in his first.
Ty Dillon and older brother Austin put on a show, driving as if they’d done it their whole lives and giving Bell and Pierce some competition. Ty Reddick and Erik Jones, two young drivers on their way up in the NASCAR ranks, also drove like they knew what they were doing.
The race was wild and riveting to the final corner as trucks slid and slammed into the walls on almost every lap, spinning and wrecking and bouncing off each other until the very last lap when the Dillon boys threw caution to the dirt and tried to bull their way to the front.
Austin won the race last year. Ty almost won it Wednesday night. They grew up racing out at 311 Speedway, the “Daytona of Dirt,” and the final restart with 2 to go, Ty dove to the bottom of the track the way they used to do it at 311 and tried to slide up past the leaders.
He didn’t quite make it, and Bell held off Pierce for the win as truck parts and sparks and dirt scattered everywhere. It was awesome, easily the best race of the year in NASCAR, just as it was last year and the year before.
You’ll hear a lot of people saying NASCAR should bring the Sprint boys here every year. But other than the Dillon’s, you won’t hear any of the actual Sprint drivers saying it.
[“source – greensboro.com”]