A “Mud”-Summer Night’s Dream

> at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio.

Here’s a memo to Eldora track owner Tony Stewart and NASCAR: “Thank you, Sir. May I have another?” Races like the Mudsummer Classic Wednesday in Rossburg, Ohio would do a tremendous amount to remedy what’s wrong with NASCAR- in this humble opinion.

Props to Darrell Wallace Jr. In terms of a fresh face that can turn heads toward the sport that don’t ordinarily pay attention, Bubba is the man. Sure, being a rare racer of mixed ethnicity, Wallace gets your attention, but for the seasoned fan, his talent keeps it. Sure, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota have dominated the Camping World Truck Series this season, but in order to finish first, you must first finish.

Speaking of truck racing, it is this fan’s opinion that the CWTS provides what he thought the Nationwide Series was supposed to do. Wallace wasn’t the only up and comer out there. We had Kyle Larson do a “checkers or wreckers” bit with a spirited challenge for the lead. But for a bad break on a pit stop, Ty Dillon nay have battled Wallace well for a victory. As it was he re-started 22nd and made the top five. Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and a number of other fine young drivers were on hand, challenged by cagey veterans such as Ron Hornaday Jr., Matt Crafton, and the ageless wonder, Kenny Schrader. There were Cup drivers in the field, but they were younger ones, the guys who can benefit from the seat and visibility to bring on another generation of racing excitement.

As we discussed earlier this week, there are certain things that cannot be replicated in the second decade of the 21st century. With that said, racing on dirt for the first time in over 40 years sure revives an excitement and interest in NASCAR that is not seen often enough. Stewart says he’d love to bring NASCAR’s other two national touring series to Eldora, why not? Wallace may have led 97 of the main event’s 150 laps, but he received his share of challenges, and there were a number of other races for position.

Did you record the race? I did, and I’m glad I did. Save for a confusing ruling on Ty Dillon’s pit stop, it’s hard to reach for a complaint about this race. Sorry, “foreign make” haters, this fan drives a Toyota, though the Blue Oval holds a special place in his heart. Not only was the race good, but the broadcast was a reminder that Rick Allen will be moving over to NBC for their 2015 coverage of the Cup series, and from here, he will be a welcome presence, following the action, and serving as a traffic cop of sorts for broadcasting neophytes Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte.

If NASCAR can offer fans more events like we had Wednesday, that would go a long way towards getting the series back on a good path. One could argue that instead of calling the event the Mudsummer Classic, it could have also been rightly called “Back To The Future.”