From Eldora Speedway
ROSSBURG, OH (June 21) – Before the race, drivers may poke fun at the pomp and circumstance that accompanies a Kings Royal victory at Eldora Speedway, but at the completion of 40 laps around the revered one-half mile clay oval, the driver making the trip to the fabled throne and the resulting crowning ceremony sits high and proud, completely cherishing the moment. This year’s annual journey (July 17) should be no different.
Begun in 1984 by Earl Baltes, Eldora’s Kings Royal is a Sprint Car tradition that captures the rush and frenzy of open-wheeled enthusiasts nationwide. Along with the $50,000 payday in the World of Outlaws (WoO) sanctioned event, comes the aforementioned victory lane ceremony that recognizes the new King of Sprint Car racing at Eldora.
To date, 147 drivers have made it into at least one of the 26 Kings Royal starting grids, with 14 different drivers actually sharing in the crowning ritual.
Steve Kinser, the undisputed king of modern-day Sprint Car racing, heads up that list, with six Kings Royal wins, and has an untarnished record of having started every single chase for the crown. Over the twenty-six years his average finish rounds out to eighth.
Ranking second on the win list is Eldora fan favorite Jac Haudenschild. Dubbed ‘the wild child’, Haudenschild has worn the time-honored crown three times. Double victories have been recorded by Doug Wolfgang, Sammy Swindell, Dave Blaney, Joey Saldana and the defending King, Donny Schatz.
Drivers with one Kings Royal win on their resume include Don Kreitz, Jr., Bobby Davis, Jr., Johnny Herrera, Dale Blaney, Mark Kinser, Jason Sides and Daryn Pittman.
While the names on the win list reflect the veterans of the sport, the youth movement is beginning to inch in. Last year’s starting field found four drivers, representing the younger generation of Sprint Car racing, making their initial Kings Royal start. That list included Cody Darrah who set quick time for the night, along with Cale Conley, Justin Henderson and second generation driver Lee Jacobs.
Eldora’s Kings Royal weekend features two full nights of racing action. Friday’s (July 16) Knight Before the Kings Royal chase will follow the full WoO format and payoff structure, while Saturday’s (July 17) Kings Royal will be formatted under Eldora Speedway design. Joining the all Sprint Car weekend will be the NRA (National Racing Alliance) Sprint Invaders each night.