Rising stars Reddick and Bell return to dirt roots at Eldora

ROSSBURG, OH - JULY 24:  Drivers race to the start finish line on a double file restart during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 24, 2013 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

ROSSBURG, OH – JULY 24: Drivers race to the start finish line on a double file restart during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 24, 2013 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Typically, NASCAR races take place on asphalt or concrete ovals with the occasional road course mixed in.

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). 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.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic

The Place: Eldora Speedway

The Date: Wednesday July 22

The Time: 9 p.m. (ET) on FOX Sports 1

Qualifying: FOX Sports 2, 5 p.m. (ET)

Qualifying Races: FOX Sports 2, 7 p.m. (ET) (Simulcast on FOX Sports 1 from 8-8:30 p.m.)

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90

Distance: 75 miles (150 laps); Segments of 60-50-40 laps

 

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