In wake of Jason Leffler’s death on a dirt track earlier this month, there have been renewed safety concerns about Eldora Speedway hosting a Camping World Truck Series race on July 24.
Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who also is an owner and driver in the Camping World series, weighed in on the issue during his press conference at Kentucky Speedway.
“I think inside the sport, the drivers and teams think it’s going to go one of two ways,” Keselowski said. “It’s either by far going to be the coolest thing we’ve ever done in NASCAR, or the dumbest thing we’ve ever done.”
Tony Stewart and NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp both made assurances the track is safe following an inspection from the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
Keselowski said he wouldn’t miss the Inaugural Midsummer Classic at the track in Rossburg, but he won’t be driving. Instead Dave Blaney and Ryan Blaney will be behind the wheel for Brad Keselowski Racing.
“Somebody told me Dave is the winningest driver ever at Eldora,” Keselowski said. “I don’t know if that’s true or not, but that’d be pretty cool if we could get him a win in the very first truck (race) there. I’m just going to be in the grandstand eating a snow cone and smiling.”
Qualifying record: Dale Earnhardt Jr. smashed the Kentucky Speedway qualifying record Friday night to earn the pole for tonight’s Quaker State 400.
Earnhardt turned in an average lap speed of 183.636 mph (29.406 seconds) to win his 12th career pole and first since Sept. 8 last year at Richmond.
“We worked on some things in practice and found what we think the car likes and what the car is going to want,” Earnhardt said. “We thought we had a top-five car in practice, and we got some good cloud cover about six or seven cars in front of us that brought the track temperature down and gave us a good advantage.”
Earnhardt Jr. has failed to convert his last four poles into a top-10 finish. His average finish in those races was 16.3
Carl Edwards (183.306) and Jimmie Johnson (183.144) were among eight other drivers who broke the previous track record of 181.818, which Johnson set last year, and will start second and third, respectively.
Cash dash: Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 kicked off the “Dash 4 Cash” program, which gives drivers and fans a chance to win some extra money.
Of the top four finishers at Kentucky, the one who finishes the highest next week at Daytona will earn $100,000. The top four finishers at Daytona will race each other for $100,000 at New Hampshire, and that pattern will continue through the races at Chicago and Indianapolis.
If a driver strings together four top-four finishes and wins the Indianapolis race outright, he or she will take home a $1 million bonus.
In addition, four fans who register at nascar.com/dash4cash will have a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the final event at Indianapolis. The fans will be randomly paired with the four eligible drivers, and the fan whose driver wins the $100,000 prize at IMS will take home $100,000 as well.
Dillon again: Austin Dillon, who won both Nationwide races at Kentucky Speedway in 2012, earned the pole for Friday night’s Feed The Children 300 with a top speed of 175.758.
Dillon’s younger brother Ty won the Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 Thursday night.
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