Sport hopes to win new fans with dirt track race

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The last time NASCAR held a Sprint Cup Series race on dirt, Ford had just introduced the Pinto, the Concorde supersonic jetliner made its first flight, the pilot for the Mary Tyler Moore Show debuted on CBS, ABC unveiled Monday Night Football and president Richard Nixon ordered 1,000 FBI agents to college campuses to suppress anti-Vietnam war demonstrations.

Now the sport hopes by taking a 43-year leap back into its past it can stir up new fans in the future.

The July 24 CarCash Midsummer Classic at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway will put the Camping World Truck Series on an unusual stage. Not only is it a rare mid-week race, it could become one of the most-watched truck series races of all time.

Fans should be naturally curious about 35 trucks racing on a half-mile dirt track, especially since a lot of the series biggest stars have never raced on dirt. For others, it marks a welcomed return to their true roots.

“I grew up racing on dirt, that’s mainly what I know,” said 21-year-old Ty Dillon. “When NASCAR goes to Eldora it gets back to its roots. My two favorite worlds get to collide. I hope we can put on a great race.”

Richard Petty won the last dirt-track race Sept. 30, 1970, at Raleigh, N.C. Thirty of his record 200 wins came on dirt. Other dirt-track ringers could be Ryan Blaney and his father Dave Blaney. They are avid dirt racers, and both competed regularly at Eldora in the past.

Teams already have tested at Eldora and many have concern about the conditions. With so many cars and so much dirt being kicked up, drivers are concerned the track might become too slick.

“That’s going to be very interesting to say the least,” truck series points leader Matt Crafton said.

“I think the track is going to go dry, slick without a doubt.”

REINSTATED: NASCAR has reinstated former Sprint Cup crew member Jackson L. Dodson II after he completed its “Road to Recovery” policy.

Dodson was a mechanic on Clint Bowyer’s car when he was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR on May 9 for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. Michael Waltrip Racing fired Dodson upon learning he’d failed a drug test.

COURTS: A former NASCAR driver and a passenger pleaded not guilty to drug and evading police charges stemming from a 150-mph chase through parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

The Spectrum of St. George reports that Timothy Tyler Andrew Walker, 33, and Raelle Hann McDonald, 30, entered their pleas Tuesday in 5th District Court.

The two live in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Each faces felony and misdemeanor charges.

They were arrested Jan. 30 after Utah Highway Patrol troopers deployed spike strips to stop the speeding BMW at an Interstate 15 exit in St. George.

The chase began in Nevada and crossed into Arizona before reaching Utah.

Troopers reported finding methamphetamine, marijuana and an open bottle of vodka in the car.

NASCAR suspended Walker in 2007 for violating its substance abuse policy.


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