ROSSBURG – Thousands of race fans have flocked to Eldora Speedway for the Mudsummer Classic NASCAR Camping World Truck Race and Tony Stewart, track owner, and Roger Slack, general manager, are excited to have the NASCAR fans come back for a second year of racing. While last year’s race was a success on the track and for fans, Stewart and Slack pointed out the success also reached into the behind the scenes aspects of the race.
From working with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Darke County Sheriff’s Department to make coming and going to and from the track manageable to 4,400 new account holders purchasing tickets for last year’s race – the good buzz that was created for Darke County and the area was justified. Slack and Stewart agreed the people in Darke and Mercer County are the hardest working people in the country. The staff at Eldora and the residents in these two counties made a difference and helped create a different, but great atmosphere for NASCAR.
That success is evident in the numbers. According to Slack, of the 4,400 new accounts purchasing multiple tickets for last year’s race, all but 138 have purchased tickets for events at Eldora this year. Most have come back for the truck race, or one of Eldora’s legendary races – King’s Royal, The World 100 or The Dream.
What does that mean for Stewart? It means he’s carrying on the legacy established by Earl and Berniece Baltes years ago. His main goal is continue what they started and not to let down. He has diligently sought to improve the track each year. Since purchasing the speedway, Stewart has added suites, scoreboard and large screen video monitor. All to make the experience for fans and drivers more enjoyable.
For 2015, Stewart and Slack announced they will build a new facility on the infield. Eldora Speedway will break ground in October on a building that will house an infield care center, media center, hospitality suite, concession stand and restrooms. The building is expected to be complete in spring 2015. Garmann Miller is the general contractor for the facility and use local resources.
As with all projects that have taken place in the infield, Stewart guaranteed it would not affect the view of fans. They will still be able to see the entire track.
Stewart quickly nixed the idea the new facility was the result of an agreement with NASCAR to continue bringing the truck race to Eldora. “It had no bearing on whether or not trucks come back,” he said. “We are just trying to keep improving.” He did make a plea to NASCAR, “I hope to continue to have this event every year. I would love for the truck series to not be the only series to come here. No reason why the other two couldn’t come.”
Although he has never asked NASCAR to bring a Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series race to Eldora, he was more than receptive about the possibility. “I think we can make it work. I’ll run on any night they want.” Even if NASCAR decides not to bring the other series to the clay oval Stewart said he is “very appreciative and very content if we only run truck races here.”