T.J.’s Travels: Five things I enjoy about the Kings Royal

Victory lane at the 2014 Kings Royal. - Bill Miller Photo
The throne….. – Bill Miller Photo

Today official starts our coverage of the 3 Kings Royal weekend. I don’t planning on letting Mother Nature ruin what should be a pretty good weekend of racing at Eldora. Here are five reasons the Kings Royal is one of my favorite events to cover over the past 20 years on TJSlideways.com.

1. One day of racing for $50,000: If you have the time off you can enjoy several days of racing and festivities (when Mother Nature is playing nice) like the Brad Doty Classic, Indiana Sprint Week, or just the pre-race party on Thursday leading into the Royal. If you don’t have the time off though you can go on Saturday and still catch the full Kings Royal program. Having racing leading into the event yet having the actual big race being a one day show works out well for people with and without a lot of cation time to use at the Royal. Personally with my life becoming busier every passing year the one day format works well for me.

2. 40-lap feature with no scheduled stop: Unlike another big race that runs 25-laps that are glorified hot laps with a pit stop before another 25-laps, the Kings Royal is 40-laps with no pit stop. Teams do not have to spend money on an extra set of tires to run the feature. Officials will likely add fuel at a stoppage if needed, which is smart, but be ready to go 40-laps green to checker if needed.

3. The format: Eldora’s big race format for winged sprint cars, late models, non-wing sprint cars, or anything else they decide to throw at it makes for awesome racing. With heat race positions determining the starting positions for the feature every lap on track is important. Saturday’s sixth heat race winner earns the pole position for the feature, the fastest two qualifiers that do not make the program earn the 19th and 20th starting positions, and with just four more cars coming out of the B-Main the heat races become intense. The Eldora big race format is still one of my favorite formats for any kind of racing and I look forward to seeing it in use every season.

4. The post-race ceremonies: The torches, the throne, crowning of the king driver introductions, and pageantry surrounding the Kings Royal is part of the appeal. When I first started going to the Kings Royal over 30 years ago drivers would appear embarrassed or almost confused to some degree because it was so different. Today drivers really embrace the post-race antics and look forward to being crowned King. Its fun to see such a major event celebrated differently than every other race.

5. It’s an all sprint car program. With the World of Outlaw and NRA Sprint Invaders on the program it provides an opportunity to see a handful of drivers doing double duty and gives the 360 drivers a chance to race in front of the big crowd at Eldora. When the worst problem with a racing program is finding a break in the action to get a bite to eat or hit the restroom it’s a pretty good day.