Bell, Reddick hold an advantage with dirt-track racing backgrounds Typically, NASCAR races take place on asphalt or concrete ovals with the occasional road course mixed in the schedule. This week, however, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will compete on dirt in Wednesday’s 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway (9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). The 75-mile contest at the half-mile clay oval in Rossburg, Ohio is the only dirt track race across NASCAR's three national series. Two of the sport's top prospects, Christopher Bell , 20, and Tyler Reddick , 19, hold a distinct advantage over the field. Both grew up racing sprint cars on dirt before transitioning to stock cars recently. "I have to say that I am pumped to run the truck race at Eldora ," said Bell, who logged 24 feature wins on dirt last season in non-NASCAR action. "I’ve never even gotten to run a stock car on dirt so it will be interesting to see how well it translates from sprint cars and midgets to the truck on dirt." Bell made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut last month, posting a fifth-place finish in his debut at Iowa. He struggled in the last race at Kentucky, finishing 17th, but growing pains are typical for young drivers at 1.5-mile tracks. The No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports driver competed at Eldora last weekend in the Kings Royal, placing third in one sprint race and 17th in another. Bell believes his Eldora experience will come in handy on Wednesday. "I think it definitely gives me an advantage," he said. "The track record at Eldora in a sprint car is about 12.7 seconds, so to be running around there in sub 13-second laps and then go there in a truck where the quick time was a 19.9 last year, it's much slower than the sprint cars ran. I think having run that fast there in a sprint car will definitely translate to running the truck there because it will slow everything down." Reddick has caught on to NASCAR quickly. In 2012, he became the youngest driver to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race when he took the checkered flag in his debut at Rockingham. He nearly won the Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award while running a partial schedule last season. Ten races into the 2015 campaign, he ranks second in the NCWTS points standings with two wins and eight top 10s. On dirt, the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing driver is the youngest driver to start the World 100 at Eldora . He began the race from the pole at 16 years old. He is also the youngest competitor to start a World of Outlaws feature event (12 years old). Reddick finished 11th in last season’s Mud Summer Classic. "I've really wanted to win a race at Eldora for a long time, more than any other track," Reddick said. "And if that happens Wednesday night it would be really special." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dirt-track background pays off for 19-year-old in chaotic session RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results Tyler Reddick claimed the top spot in final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice Wednesday at Eldora Speedway in a spin-filled final prep for the only NASCAR national series race on dirt. Reddick, who possesses a rich dirt-track pedigree, drove the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 19 Ford to a best lap of 89.264 mph in the 85-minute session. He enters the third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) in second place in the series standings, just 20 points behind two-time series champion Matt Crafton . NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Ty Dillon was second-fastest in the GMS Racing No. 33 Chevrolet at 88.924 mph. Timothy Peters landed the third-fastest lap at 86.248 mph on the half-mile track in the Red Horse Racing No. 17 Toyota. Illinois dirt-track hotshot Bobby Pierce, 18, was fourth-fastest in the MB Motorsports No. 63 Chevrolet with Christopher Bell in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota capping the top five. Speeds were slightly slower than the first practice session, topped by 19-year-old Erik Jones in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota, but the amount of incidents rose sharply with several spins and some isolated instances of contact. The dirt cushion inched up closer to the outside wall, but a significant dip also developed at the exit of Turn 2, causing trucks to become unsettled as they traveled across the bump. The trucks of Johnny Sauter , John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer sustained the most damage. Sauter and Nemechek both backed into the outside retaining wall after separate spins, and Custer's No. 00 truck crunched into the back of the slowing truck of teenage newcomer Madeline Crane. Other drivers involved in solo spins without damage (in chronological order): Matt Tifft , Ty Dillon , Chad Boat , Custer, Brad Keselowski , Jennifer Jo Cobb (twice), Jody Knowles , John Wes Townley , Christopher Bell , Jake Griffin, Nemechek and Pierce. Former Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski managed the 16th-fastest lap among the 34 drivers to participate in final practice. Fellow Sprint Cup regular Austin Dillon , winner of the truck series' inaugural dirt-track event in 2013, was seventh-fastest. Crafton registered the ninth-fastest lap in the ThorSport No. 88 Toyota. Ken Schrader , the first pole winner for the annual Eldora event, was 19th-fastest in preparation for his first NASCAR national series start of the season. Keystone Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET. Qualifying heats are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET with the 150-lap main event set for a 9 p.m. ET go. Jones fastest in opening Eldora practice Erik Jones topped the charts in Wednesday's opening practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at muddy Eldora Speedway . Jones drove the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota to a mud-slinging lap of 89.454 mph around the historic half-mile dirt track. The 19-year-old driver was fastest in qualifying last season in his Eldora Speedway debut. Jones' lap edged second-fastest Austin Dillon , who turned a 89.299-mph lap in the NTS Motorsports No. 31 Chevrolet in preparation for Wednesday's third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Dillon holds the distinction as the inaugural winner in 2013 of the truck tour's only race on dirt. Bobby Pierce -- an 18-year-old dirt Late Model driver from Illinois, prepping for his first Camping World Truck Series start -- was third-fastest in the MB Motorsports No. 63 Chevrolet owned by Mike Mittler. Christopher Bell was fourth-fastest in another Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra with two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton completing the top five in the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Toyota. Dillon wasn't the only Sprint Cup regular making his mark in the opening 55-minute session. Brad Keselowski , making his first Eldora start in the truck series, brushed the wall late but was 24th-fastest in the No. 29 Ford from his own race shop. Ty Dillon , an XFINITY Series regular and part-time Sprint Cup entrant, was seventh-fastest in the GMS Racing No. 33 Chevrolet. Ken Schrader , a longtime Sprint Cup driver now racing recreationally, was 22nd-fastest in his own No. 52 Toyota. The 60-year-old Schrader won the inaugural Keystone Light Pole Award at Eldora in 2013. Teams furiously fought for grip in the early going as the ground-pounding trucks began to work in the damp dirt surface. The track's characteristics, though, created plenty of tacky mud on windshields and inside the trucks' wheel wells, caking the inside of the fenders. Ben Kennedy had the hardest contact of the 55-minute session, slamming the right side of his Red Horse Racing No. 11 Toyota in the Turn 4 wall. Korbin Forrister continued after a pair of spins, and Pierce also looped his truck without any damage. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
In his third career Truck Series start, Christopher Bell goes to Victory Lane RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings " See the best Eldora photos In one of the most anticipated races of the year, Christopher Bell scored a dramatic win in the third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic on the famed Eldora Speedway dirt. It was the first victory for Bell in just his third career start. Bell’s triumph marked back-to-back victories for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No. 54 Toyota Tundra at Eldora . "It's just unbelievable," said Bell in Victory Lane. "I've been coming here quite a few times and if you would have told me two years ago that my first win at Eldora was going to be in a truck, I would have told you you're crazy. This is just fantastic. I'm just thrilled to be here." Dirt late model ace Bobby Pierce scored the 21 Means 21 Pole Award earlier in the day, giving MB Motorsports, one of the longest running teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, its first-ever pole. Pierce lost the lead on Lap 1 to John Hunter Nemechek , but took it back on Lap 2. Pierce maintained control of the race, until a Lap 42 restart when Bell, also a dirt veteran, swiped the lead from Pierce in Turn 1. Bell led through Lap 60. When Spencer Gallagher spun on Lap 53, NASCAR utilized the yellow flag to serve as the competition caution originally scheduled for Lap 60, allowing teams to come in for tires and fuel. Brad Keselowski elected to stay out during the caution, inheriting the lead alongside Bell for the Lap 61 restart. Bell quickly slid by Keselowski a lap later and stretched his advantage by 1.5 seconds until a debris caution on Lap 72 brought the field to his bumper. Through the race's then-longest green flag stretch, Bell increased his lead on Pierce, but when Chris Fontaine spun on Lap 94, it once again bunched up the field. On the restart, Pierce attacked Bell and stole the lead on the backstretch and kept it through a yellow for John Wes Townley on Lap 94. Bell slid in front of Pierce two laps after the restart and held the point until the end of segment two for the second competition caution of the night. Under the yellow, most of the field elected to stay out, setting up for the start of segment three, a 40-lap dash. Showcasing his dirt track skills, Bell checked out from the field with Pierce, Ty Dillon , Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick chasing. The opportunity to pull away would be denied when the 11th caution flag of the night waved. Chasing his first career win in his truck series debut, Pierce stalking Bell for the lead, made contact with the Turn 4 wall with about 15 laps remaining, causing significant rear-end damage. Even with a battered truck, Pierce stayed on the throttle. The challenge for the lead would be slowed with 11 laps remaining when Timothy Peters went for a solo spin in Turn 2. A five-lap sprint to the finish set up for the winner of the 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic with Bell and Pierce up front on the restart. Bell would accelerate hard, while a slow restart for Pierce put him in the clutches of Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick . Pierce escaped them and set his sights on Bell. When Korbin Forrister spun with two laps to go, the drama meter pegged even more, setting up for a green-white-checkered finish. On the final restart of the night, Bell refused to give up the race lead and withstood an attempted pass by Pierce on the last lap to earn the win. "I'll tell you that’s pretty awesome that Bobby and I could come here and run 1-2," added Bell. "I never heard of him until I was at a sprint car race last year and he was running his late model. It's pretty cool that a couple of dirt guys could run 1-2 at a dirt race track." Tyler Reddick finished third ahead of Erik Jones and Daniel Hemric . Inaugural Eldora winner Austin Dillon was sixth followed by Nemechek, Cameron Hayley , Matt Crafton and Ty Dillon . The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action on Aug. 1 at Pocono Raceway for the running of the Pocono Mountains 150 (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Bobby Pierce finishes second in first Truck Series start RELATED: Complete race results ROSSBURG, Ohio -- The pit crew swarmed the truck; the driver climbed out and threw his hands high into the night air; the owner ran around screaming and handing out hugs. In the background of this scene, as fireworks exploded over Eldora Speedway's half-mile dirt oval, race winner Christopher Bell turned victory donuts that sent plumes of dust skyward. The fact that Bobby Pierce finished second didn't dampen the celebration on pit road. In fact, it heightened it. In his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut, Pierce chased Bell all over the track in a thrilling conclusion to the third annual event at the Tony Stewart -owned facility in western Ohio. He did so in a battered No. 63 MB Motorsports Chevrolet that, by the end, looked like something from a nearby junkyard. The decklid was drooping, the back right fender was covered in dents and discoloration and tiny chunks of the body were scattered somewhere along the hard clay. "I knew these trucks could take a lot before they started falling apart," Pierce said with a grin after hopping out of his truck. "It was a lot of fun out there. I'm out of breath, but so happy." The 18-year-old had to spend a few moments composing himself inside the cockpit following the checkered flag, a piece of time that included third-place finisher Tyler Reddick strolling over, leaning into the window and patting him on the helmet. A member of his pit crew walked in circles, screaming "(Expletive) yeah! Can you believe it?" They couldn't. Pierce led 39 of 154 laps after starting from the pole. He was in the top five throughout the entirety of the 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic, including the frenzied finish that saw four cautions -- and thus four harrowing restarts -- over a 42–lap span and resulted in a green-white-checkered finish. Bell, 20 years old, and Pierce put on another Eldora classic. They went high into the wall, sending both sparks and dirt spraying from their trucks. They went low, dodging Reddick, Austin Dillon , Ty Dillon and Matt Crafton , among others. It was reminiscent of last year's frenzied finish, when Kyle Larson used all his truck would give him, careening into walls while attempting to chase down eventual winner Darrell Wallace Jr . "I know a lot of people before the race were thinking I was going to be the Kyle Larson this year, probably," Pierce said. "I didn't want to be the guy in second, but that's how it goes." Team owner Mike Mittler was fine with second. A team owner in the Truck Series since its inception in 1995, Wednesday was his best finish. His only other career top 10 in 213 starts was an eighth-place showing with Carl Edwards in 2002. It was a wait of 13 years for a man well-regarded in the NASCAR community, one who helped drivers such as Brad Keselowski (who finished 28th Wednesday), Edwards, Jamie McMurray and Justin Allgaier start their careers. After celebrating with Pierce and the crew, Mittler took a congratulatory phone call and helped wheel the truck across the infield for inspection before pausing to consider what the runner-up result meant. "I thought if it stayed green, we'd have every opportunity to work (Bell) and get by him, but it just didn't go that way," Mittler told NASCAR.com. "I just thought, 'Wow, what a phenomenal opportunity after 20 years, to be in position to finally have an opportunity to win a race.' " The opportunity came with a driver Mittler has known for years -- he is friends with Pierce's father outside of racing -- and one who watched the inaugural Eldora race on television at home, and took in last year's event from the grandstands. "The whole thing is pretty cool," Bell said, "because I remember we were at a local show in Illinois a year ago, and I had never heard of Bobby Pierce and I'm sure he'd never heard of me. He kicked their butt in the late model race. I never dreamed we'd be racing neck and neck at Eldora ." But they were. And on a night in which Bell cemented his place in NASCAR, Pierce's possible NASCAR career also took flight. "That's why you're in this sport, to be in contention to win," Mittler said. "It wasn't a fluke. We were there all day. It was no fluke at all. The kid's the real deal. He said this is a dream come true for him, and it is for me, too." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kes hit the wall with 10 laps to go; made his movie debut in Sharknado trilogy ROSSBURG, Ohio -- Brad Keselowski 's tweet said it best, of course. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion -- and social media maven -- had a day that was equally fun, frustrating and ridiculous. His Wednesday at Eldora Speedway , which hosts yearly one of the premier NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, ended with Keselowski wrecking his No. 29 Ford … after being eaten by a shark. Had a super fun day today besides being ate by a shark and wrecking in first dirt race start — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) July 23, 2015 Driving in the 1-800-CarCash MudSummer Classic at the half-mile dirt track in Ohio, Keselowski added his own flair to a day with plenty of memorable moments. His first foray onto dirt included: some spice at the end of the first 60-lap segment when he was the lone truck not to pit; a breathtaking move that showed why he's one of the best drivers in the world; a hard crash that ended any shot of a top-10 finish … and his movie debut when "Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!" aired on SyFy. The spot for the Team Penske driver (who was driving in his own Brad Keselowski Racing truck at Eldora ), in which he was devoured by a shark that flew out of a tornado, coincidentally came at nearly the exact moment he inherited the lead after not pitting. "We had nothing to lose," Keselowski said after not taking his truck in for service, then leading the field to green for the second segment (50 laps). "I wanted to try something." That led to a restart that produced one of the night's best highlights in a race full of them. Keselowski, starting in the top lane, slipped back to fourth place coming out of Turn 2 before squeezing by Ty Dillon while turning his nose toward the inside of the track, then sliding down below Austin Dillon and clearing leader and eventual winner Christopher Bell to reclaim first position -- although Bell would pass Keselowski out of Turn 4. That driving display brought the appreciative Eldora crowd to its collective feet, but Keselowski would slip down to 17th before the final 40-lap segment to the finish. He slowly made his way back up through the field, having gotten more accustomed to the clay surface, and was inside the top 10 before a slide job gone wrong sent him hard into the wall. The damage to his right rear was severe, relegating Kes to a 28th-place finish, 10 laps down. "I came to broaden my view on the sport," Keselowski said of his day on dirt. "I would say from that perspective, mission accomplished." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where all 32 trucks will pit (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) RELATED: Starting lineup for the Mud Summer Classic The 21 Means 21 Pole Award winner Bobby Pierce, in his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, will pit his No. 63 in the 24th stall as he seeks to win the 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic at Eldora Speedway (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks Erik Jones , Matt Tifft and Christopher Bell will occupy the first three stalls followed by ThorSport Racing's three trucks Matt Crafton , Johnny Sauter and Cameron Hayley . Then the Brad Keselowski Racing trucks of Tyler Reddick and Keselowski will be in the seventh and eighth stalls. The winner of the inaugural Mud Summer Classic, Austin Dillon , will put his No. 31 in the 15th stall. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Longtime track promoter built Ohio track in 1954 RELATED: Big Bill's path to Talladega Eldora Speedway founder and longtime promoter Earl Baltes died Monday morning at an Ohio hospital. He was 93. Baltes built the rural Ohio dirt track in 1954, then switched its configuration four years later to the high-banked, half-mile oval that still exists today. In the decades that followed, Eldora became one of the premier dirt tracks in the United States. For the past two years, it has hosted NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events. In addition to the eventual Truck Series races, the promoter had a relationship with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., and assisted France in recruiting cars for the inaugural race at Talladega Superspeedway . Following a 50-year run as owner, Baltes sold the track to NASCAR driver Tony Stewart in 2004. Stewart promptly erected statues of Baltes and his wife, Berneice -- who survives Baltes -- to honor the track's founder. "Earl was the yardstick other track promoters measured themselves by," Stewart said in a track release. "He constantly raised the bar, and he did it by creating events everyone else was afraid to promote. He did them himself, too. Not as a fair board, or a public company, or with major sponsors or millions of dollars in TV money. He put it all on the line with the support of his family. "He and his wife, Berneice, created a happening at Eldora . They turned Eldora into more than just a race track. They made it a place to be. They were integral to the evolution of dirt-track racing and the sport as a whole. Earl will be missed, but he won't ever be forgotten because of his devotion to auto racing." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Jonathan Merryman joins first-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Chris Bell, in Victory Lane at Eldora Speedway to talk about Chris' racing dreams coming true.
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman talks with Chris Rice of NTS Motorsports to show the body modifications that are made to trucks before they race on the dirt at Eldora Speedway .
As the Eldora event turns three, Reddick talks dirt-track racing In his first full season of competition in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, 19-year-old Tyler Reddick has spent plenty of time in the upper reaches of the points standings, making early inroads into trying to dethrone two-time defending champ Matt Crafton . For one week this month, the inroads might be covered with dirt. Reddick will bring an extensive dirt-track racing background into next Wednesday's 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Eldora Speedway , the historic half-mile oval in Western Ohio which plays host to the only NASCAR national series event on dirt. The California native, with several age-related records to his credit in both Late Model and Sprint car competition on dirt, finished 11th last season in his first Eldora truck race. "It was quite an eye-opening experience," said Reddick, who, at 16 years old, became the youngest driver to start in the prestigious World 100 for Late Models at Eldora in 2012. "It feels almost like a Street Stock with how much lack of grip there is, but we've just got a lot more horsepower and a lot less grip. It's a handful. Really hard to get a hold of the race track, so it makes it really interesting. We've been trying to work on our truck to make it better as much as we can for this year, and do some things on the truck that are hopefully going to help on dirt. Hopefully some of my dirt experience can play into that." NASCAR returned to the dirt with the truck series in 2013, marking the first time in nearly 43 years that the sanctioning body had raced on something other than asphalt or concrete. As the Eldora event turns three, the style of racing is still so foreign to the other 99 percent of the three national series' schedules that the novelty seems to have faded only by microscopic margins. With each year, there has been the occasional chatter from contrarians to the school of dirt that the Eldora race should still be run, but as an exhibition event. Reddick, however, said that the dirt-track showcase should remain a factor in the season-long championship equation. "I think it should count as a points race," Reddick said. "If it was just an exhibition, some of these other teams that are just focusing on what they're good at, they'll just stay focused on those things. I think what they tried to do there is just throw another aspect into the game. You don't want to go to Eldora and run dead last. Every spot counts, so teams have to put time into making their equipment the best on the dirt track as they can. It's only one race, but it counts, it's a win and there's points to be had and lost there. "It's the same deal with the road course," Reddick added, noting the series' annual trip to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next month. "You know, we only run one road course over the course of the year, but teams that don't put in time to that road-course race or the effort to have the best vehicle possible, at the end of the year, they'll be looking back at that and saying, well, we should've put more effort toward it. I think it's good to have those races that you'd maybe call different or a wild-card or not, but I enjoy those type of races, especially being a dirt-track racer." Reddick entered 16 of last year's 22 races in the Camping World Truck Series, returning to Brad Keselowski Racing's No. 19 Ford for a full-season campaign this year. He converted right out of the gate with a thrilling victory in the season opener at Daytona, then followed it up with his second truck triumph at Dover in May. Since the Dover win, Reddick's fortunes have tailed off slightly with just one top-five finish in the last four races, a stretch that has allowed series leader Crafton to maintain an advantage in the standings. Even though it's been a bump in the thus-far-paved road, the season-long goals for the BKR driver haven't changed as Eldora's dirt beckons. "Our intentions were at the beginning of this year was to chase for a championship," Reddick said. "Honestly, the last two weeks for us haven't been nearly what we wanted at all by any means. They've been kind of perilous. We've been working on it, working hard, trying to make better of a situation that we've put ourselves into. I really feel like we've bounced back a bit. We've had some issues, but surpassing those issues and making your weaknesses your strengths, I feel like we're doing that. We're heading back in the right direction, I feel like. We've just got to keep at it, and Eldora's going to be a good race for us." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule