By T.J. Buffenbarger
(September 6, 2022) — In 2018 I had the opportunity to cover the World 100 thanks to weather pushing it back to October. I had the World 100 on my list of events I wanted to cover for a considerable amount of time. While I didn’t get to attend one in September (which is still a goal in the next couple of years), the 2018 edition gave me a feel for the magnitude of the event.
Since that experience in 2018 I’ve told the most die-hard sprint car fans I know if they haven’t been to the World 100 that they need to attend it at least once. Growing on that idea, here are five of the reasons I feel it is worth making the trip to Eldora this week as a sprint car fan.
1. The World 100 is a bucket list event you can cross off your list of major events you have attended. Think of the biggest events in our sport’s various disciplines. The Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Knoxville Nationals, Super Dirt Week, and the World 100 is just that for Late Models.
While the atmosphere is different than a big sprint car race, there are some commonalities that you can pick on right away and relate to. Everybody in Dirt Late Model racing wants to win this race. When you tell short track fans you went to a World 100, they get the magnitude of the event even if they have not been there.
Even though the event pays a cool $55,000 to win and $5,200 to start, most of the teams on hand this week want the famous World 100 trophy or for smaller teams just to put a feature start at the World on their resume as much or more than the check.
Making the pilgrimage to Eldora in September for the World 100 also gives you an opportunity to see the largest crowd of the season at Eldora. While the Kings Royal crowd has become massive, especially over the past 10 years, the World 100 crowd by all accounts is larger.
If you enjoy the majors in short track dirt racing, event as primarily a sprint car fan, the World 100 delivers.
2. The World 100 is one of the few events where you will see all the biggest stars in Dirt Late Model racing in the same spot. Late Models have their biggest teams spread between a pair of series and various “trophy hunters” that pick and choose their spots.
Drivers have entered from 27 states and race fans from around the globe will be on hand this weekend at Eldora. The World 100 also draws drivers from different disciplines giving their shot at trying to make the biggest dirt late model race in the world. This year NASCAR Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar will take his shot at the World 100 this year.
The best national and local drivers in dirt late model racing put on a great show in what I feel is one of the best venues on the planet to see that form of racing.
3. The World 100 highlights Eldora Speedway’s famous six heat race format for major events the best of all the races on their calendar.
Eldora’s six heat format is one of my favorites in the sport. For those that don’t know how it works, the cliff notes version is the heat race invert is determined by the wheel of doom, the top three finishers in each heat transferring to the feature with the winner of the sixth heat starting on the pole position, and the two fastest drivers highest in event points that don’t transfer through Saturday’s heat races making the race along with B-Main transfers.
The Kings Royal heat races are typical of most races with the number of cars and distance. Each World 100 heat race is like a mini feature going 15 laps in distance and often having 20 cars or more in each heat race.
Another added aspect is finishers 4-11 move to a B-Main event, but everyone else must go home the World 100 heat races are every bit as intense as the Knoxville Nationals.
4. Eldora Speedway’s major events are known for their massive 50/50 drawings. While the Kings Royal has a decent size pot, the World 100 is the biggest of the year. In 2021 the winner of the World 100 50/50 pocketed $143,258, which is more than the winner took home.
You can buy a ticket if you are in the state of Ohio and not present at the racetrack, but what fun is that? There is something about trying to time your purchase or purchases properly and figuring out how many tickets to buy to position yourself to hopefully be the owner of the lucky ticket drawn on Saturday.
5. The World 100 is a major race at Eldora Speedway. There isn’t much else that needs to be said about this aspect of attending a World 100 if you have witnessed any of Eldora’s majors in person.
The camping will be fun, various beverages adult or otherwise will be cold, and the fellowship among fellow race fans will be incredible. Eldora major events are something that needs to be experienced by every race fan in person.
I’m as much of a sprint car nerd as anyone on the planet and I can say sincerely the World 100 I covered was one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had in motorsports. I was able to cross it off my bucket list in 2019 and I’ve always said to truly cross something off my list I need to experience it twice. While this year doesn’t appear to be in the cards, I plan on trying to get back to a World 100 in the next couple of years so I’m not a total greenhorn to the experience.
• Sprint car racing has two major events on opposite ends of the country this week with the Gold Cup Race of Champions taking place at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California and the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway in Port Royal, Pennsylvania.
The new promotional team at Silver Dollar Speedway headed up by Brad Sweet, Kyle Larson, and Colby Copeland have been hard at work building up the biggest event for Silver Dollar Speedway this season. This edition of the Gold Cup features split field on Thursday and Friday leading into Saturday’s finale featuring the World of Outlaws, golf tournament in honor of Clyde Lamar, post-race concert after Wednesday’s Sprint Car Challenge Tour program by Tim Duggar, glow party on Thursday, bikini contest on Friday, and $25,000 finale on Saturday.
The Tuscarora 50 is a three-night affair this year with Saturday’s finale paying $55,000 to the winner. Attendees also get to enjoy the 168th Annual Juniata County Fair and is quickly becoming one of the must attend events on the sprint car circuit.
• Friday at Attica Raceway Park will be the final night of competition with Rex LeJeune serving as director of operations. LeJeune announced he was retiring earlier this year and that Andrew Morfier will be taking his position.
LeJeune has served in a variety of capacities during his career in racing including the first head flag person at the track when it opened in 1988 and other tracks all around Ohio, starter at Eldora Speedway, competition director for the World of Outlaws Gumout Series and the All Star Circuit of Champions, and his director position at Attica.
Knowing Rex for over 25 years Friday will be an emotional night. If the weather plays nice plans are to be on hand to cover LeJeune’s final night of racing.