NASCAR hasn’t raced in Ohio since 2008 and it hasn’t raced on dirt since 1970. Both are likely to change next year.
The Camping World Truck Series schedule hasn’t been released, but several outlets, including the Charlotte Observer, reported this week that NASCAR will soon announce a truck race on Eldora Speedway’s half-mile, high-banked dirt track near Rossburg.
NASCAR hasn’t raced on dirt since Richard Petty’s win at North Carolina Fairgrounds in Raleigh on Sept. 30, 1970. The Nationwide Series announced Monday it will visit Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington for the first time.
The last time NASCAR raced in Ohio was in 2008 with a truck race at Mansfield Motorsports Park.
Eldora owner and three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, for one, hopes the truck announcement comes soon. He fielded the question again Friday while preparing for today’s season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.
“When we have something to say we will tell you guys,” Stewart said. “It’s starting to get annoying every week. It’s like we don’t even know answers and you guys want answers that we don’t even have answers to. When we have answers we will come to you guys. I promise we will not let you be left out of this.”
The Nationwide Series visits Mid-Ohio on Aug. 17 in a stand-alone series race. The Sprint Cup Series races in Michigan the next day.
“We came to Mansfield with the trucks and we saw the huge support, and if you look at a lot of our marketing information about our fans, there’s a huge number of fans in Ohio that have been asking for a race,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations.
The Nationwide race helps ease the blow of no visit from the American Le Mans Series in 2013. No agreement could be reached because of a scheduling issue. Mid-Ohio — a 2.4-mile, 15-turn road course — anticipates hosting an event in 2014 when the ALMS and The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series merge.
Labonte honored guest: The 18th annual Evening for Race Fans will be held Dec. 7 at Romer’s Catering in St. Henry. Two-time Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte, USAC great Jack Hewitt and Eldora Speedway’s Jeff Babcock will be among the guests. Mike King, the voice of the IndyCar Series, will serve as MC. The event, hosted by the Celina-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, serves as a fundraiser for State of the Heart Hospice, Community Health Professionals and the Celina-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.
Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased by calling the Celina-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce at (419) 586-2219. Included is an autograph session, buffet dinner, driver interviews and a memorabilia auction. Tickets will not be sold at the door.