Austin Dillon celebrates with Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart after winning the NASCAR Truck Series race. Will Sprint Cup cars ever race there?

Truck event has many asking if Sprint Cup will follow

Published: Saturday, Jul. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7C
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 29, 2013 - 6:58 am

INDIANAPOLIS – The NASCAR Truck Series stop at Eldora Speedway this week created a lot of buzz that still hasn't died down.

The Ohio race was the first for NASCAR on a dirt track since Sept. 30, 1970. Some drivers in Indianapolis for this weekend's Brickyard 400 race were talking Friday about a possible Sprint Cup Series race at Eldora Speedway – someday.

Clint Bowyer, who is second in the Sprint Cup standings, was part of the broadcast of Wednesday night's event on Speed TV. A part of him wanted to be racing in Eldora.

"Basically, I was stuck in a cage in there in the Hollywood Hotel with my world racing out there, and it was really hard to sit there and watch," he said. "I thought the racing was good. Everybody was thinking, 'Man, why is the track so dry-slick?'

It led to good racing."

Jeff Gordon watched every minute of it, too. Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried. He was on his way to New York and didn't get to see the finish.

"I had it recorded on my TV, and it recorded an hour and a half of it, so I didn't get to see the last segment," he said. "It was some kind of communication error. But that was disappointing to say the least because I had pretty much cut off all contact with anyone who might ruin the outcome for me."

He never got to see Austin Dillon capture the victory, with Elk Grove's Kyle Larson finishing second. But a sold-out crowd at the half-mile dirt track owned by Tony Stewart saw everything. So did 1.4 million viewers on television.

But the portion of the race that Earnhardt was able to enjoy was enough to make an impact.

"It was entertaining and exciting, and something ... that I hope to see more of," Earnhardt said. "Just from a viewer's standpoint."

The race was a hit for everyone.

"Everywhere I've gone this week I've had people that are huge NASCAR fans and people that aren't big NASCAR fans at all that watched it," Gordon said. "And they were blown away. They did not expect it to go the way that it did."

And the excitement that surrounded the race brings up a question: Is there a future at Eldora with NASCAR? NASCAR officials say they're hopeful. Stewart was on hand for the race and wouldn't mind seeing a future Sprint Cup race at his track.

"The logical thing is, NASCAR will go back and evaluate how the two days went," Stewart said after the race. "We, as a company, will do the same thing."

For his part, Earnhardt would like to see an exhibition race, not a full-blown Sprint Cup event. Gordon disagreed.

"You know what I would love to see, a Cup race at Eldora," Gordon said. "I don't think you will ever see a Cup race there, at least not while I'm driving, but I would certainly vote for it. I think it would be very cool to do."

Even if Gordon was still racing, he may not want to drive there, he jokingly said. "I think I would rather have Kyle Larson drive my car because I thought he was awesome," Gordon said.

Grand-Am in Indianapolis – Ryan Dalziel inherited the lead when Brazil's Rubens Barrichello had to make a late pit stop and held off hard-charging Scott Pruett of Auburn by 3.438 seconds in the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Dalziel's co-driver, Alex Popow, celebrated his second straight win at Indy.

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