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Continued: Getting Dirty: NASCAR marks return to dirt track for 1st time since 1970

  • Article by: DAN GELSTON , AP Sports Writer
  • Last update: July 24, 2013 - 7:14 AM

"I have been looking forward to this race for a really long time," he said. "I've had a lot of fun racing at Eldora and have had quite a bit of success, so I am excited to get back. I can't wait to see how the trucks run there."

Even with the lengthy gap between NASCAR dirt races, fans and drivers are buzzing over the race, a rarity in a series that often runs in front of mostly empty grandstands as a support race in a Sprint Cup weekend.

But a big crowd, big ratings and a great race could go far in making an Eldora a regular stop on the Truck Series circuit — and maybe make stock car racing there a reality.

"If it has incredible success, who knows how far this could go?" driver Kenny Wallace said. "You could put the Nationwide Series there. One thing I always remind people of — and I race dirt all over the United States — this is where Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman came from. Three quarters of the field in Sprint Cup came from dirt tracks just like Eldora. I think this is a really good deal."

The race comes six weeks after the death of NASCAR driver Jason Leffler on a dirt track in New Jersey. State police say a mechanical problem was to blame for the spinout that ended with Leffler's car slamming into a concrete wall.

The 37-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native was a two-time winner on the NASCAR Nationwide Series and a one-time winner in the Truck Series.

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