By Larry Boos
ROSSBURG, OH (Nov. 21) – Tony Stewart’s determined and convincing drive to victory at Homestead Miami Speedway and the resulting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crown Sunday night, capped off an exciting NASCAR championship weekend that resulted in a trio of title holders sharing an Eldora Speedway connection.
As owner of the famed southwestern Ohio speed plant, as well as a frequent competitor and victor on the one-half mile clay oval, Stewart was quick to point out that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Nationwide Series) and Austin Dillon (Camping World Truck Series) have also made their presence known at Eldora.
Stenhouse’s name was etched into the Eldora Speedway history books in 2007 during the annual Four Crown Nationals when he bested the United States Auto Club (USAC) Midget field, while Dillon’s claim to fame came during the 2010 World 100 for Late Models. At that time, in only his second appearance on the hallowed Eldora clay, Dillon topped the 134 car field with quick time honors. He eventually finished 13th in the 100-lap chase.
Stewart’s accomplishments as an Eldora driver are even greater with victory stage appearances as the result of feature wins in Sprint Cars (winged and non-winged), Midgets, Modifieds and Late Models. Additionally, Stewart has prevailed over Eldora’s marquee Prelude to the Dream three times since its inception in 2005.
It may very well be that the Prelude event could offer an opportunity for the trio of NASCAR champions to return together as Eldora competitors in 2012. While Stewart has not released invitations to the annual June charity event as of yet, Stenhouse, Jr. and Dillon have to be considered as likely candidates to get mail from the three-time Sprint Cup champion as invitees.
As the Eldora Speedway owner since the Fall of 2004, Tony Stewart continues on his pledge to keep Eldora on the forefront of the Nation’s grassroots race tracks, with an ongoing schedule of improvements to the facility and an innovative schedule of events, featuring a myriad of racing divisions and sanctioning bodies.
In addition to the talent-laden Prelude to the Dream invitational (June 6) and World 100 (September 7 & 8), Eldora’s key events in 2012 include the Dirt Late Model Dream (June 8 & 9) and the Kings Royal weekend (July 13 & 14). The ticket sale campaign for these events begins Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. by going online to www.eldoraspeedway.com.
Short track racing remains very dear and close to Stewart as he continues to give back to the roots of his career. He currently fields a pair of World of Outlaw (WoO) Sprint Car teams, in addition to USAC Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown teams. His owner championships have not been limited to his recent NASCAR Sprint Cup title; he has also earned owner accolades through his WoO Sprint, USAC Sprint and Silver Crown teams.