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NASCAR Truck: Eldora Speedway brings out dirt-track ringers

Rico Abreu at Eldora Speedway on July 18, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Rico Abreu at Eldora Speedway on July 18, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Road-course racing in any of NASCAR’s three national series — Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck — brings out what used to be referred to road-course ringers, now more commonly referred to as road-course specialists. Now that the Camping World Truck Series goes dirt-track racing once yearly at Eldora Speedway in Rossbuhg, Ohio, fans of that series are introduced to those who could be called dirt-track ringers.

The series has among its list of regular competitors at least one dirt ringer in Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell, the 2017 three-race winner and second-place driver in the points standings, heading into Wednesday night’s Eldora Dirt Derby.  Bell claimed his first-career Truck Series win at Eldora in 2015.

Truck Series rookie Stewart Friesen also is considered a dirt specialist.

Meanwhile other familiar faces return to the series, like Ken Schrader and Rico Abreu.

Schrader has raced in a NASCAR national series other than the yearly race at Eldora since 2013, but he has run the Truck Series race at Eldroa every year since its inception. He was the pole sitter for the first Truck Series race at the track and the first series race on dirt in 2013. A year later, he posted his best event finish of fourth.

“We are thrilled to be running Eldora, again, this season,” Schrader said.

Schrader will be behind the wheel of the No. 66 Bolen Motorsports Chevrolet for this year’s Dirt Derby.

Also making a return to the Truck Series for Wednesday night’s race is Abreu. Abreu was a regular in the trucks last season, his rookie year in the series, but at season’s end, he lost his ride at ThorSport Racing because of a lack of sponsorship. ThorSport, though, put together a ride for the dirt-racing ace for this year’s Eldora race.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Abreu said. “I’m racing the same truck I ran last year when I finished third. I can’t wait. It’s Eldora. It’s dirt. It’s a track I’m really familiar with, and it’s a race I really want to win.”

Meanwhile, longtime Truck Series team MB Motorsports will expand its efforts to two trucks for Eldora, putting dirt-track ringers, or specialists, in both trucks. Chris Windom will drive the No. 36 and Bobby Pierce the No. 63. This year’s Dirt Derby will be the Camping World Truck Series debut for Windom.

“It’s a thrill for me to make my first NASCAR start at Eldora,” Windom said. “It’s a track that is so meaningful to those of us in the dirt-racing world. I’m honored that Mike (Mittler, team owner) and everyone at MB Motorsports are giving me this opportunity.”

Pierce has run a handful of other races in the Truck Series over the last few years, with seven starts between 2015 and 2016. One race he ran each of those years was Eldora and the 2017 Dirt Derby will mark the first start of the season for Pierce. He started on the pole for both of his Truck Series starts at Eldora.

Young’s Motorsports also is fielding two trucks for this year’s Truck Series dirt race and putting dirt-racing specialists in both. Australian Max Johnston will make his NASCAR Truck Series debut from behind the wheel of the No. 02 Chevrolet on Wednesday night, and Sheldon Creed will drive Young’s Motorsports’ No. 20 Chevrolet.

The 2017 Dirt Derby will be Creed’s second Eldora start in the Truck Series, and his second series start, overall. He finished 16th in the race last year, driving for Bobby Dotter.

Wednesday night’s race also will be the Camping World Truck Series debut for Jeffrey Abbey. He’ll drive the No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet.

“I’m so excited to get behind the wheel of one of these trucks,” Abbey said.  “For my first start to come at Eldora, is even more special.  I’ve grown up racing on dirt, and to do it on this stage is a huge deal.  The whole team has been working hard, and I’ve gotten a little test-time under my belt, which will hopefully help with the learning curve.  I can’t wait for the race.”

The Truck Series race at Eldora also entices some Cup Series drivers with a dirt background. As a matter-of-fact, Cup regular Kyle Larson won the Dirt Derby last year. Larson, though, isn’t entered for this year’s race. Neither is former winner Austin Dillon. But Cup Series Rookie of the Year candidate Ty Dillon is.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (Facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (Facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on July 19, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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