Interest high in first national-series dirt event since 1970
It took Eldora Speedway three minutes to sell 1,500 tickets. In a half-hour, 6,500 were gone. By the end of the first day, the main grandstand was sold out. By the end of the weekend, only a few thousand reserved seats were left for the track’s inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.
The first few days of ticket sales for NASCAR’s return to dirt racing were brisk ones, with purchases made by households in 48 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces, track general manager Roger Slack said Monday. Tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, and roughly 48 hours later the facility had only 2,600 of its 17,700 reserved seats remaining.
“We knew we would have a big immediate rush of sales, and are excited that the pace has stayed strong,” Slack said. “The fact that we are already flirting with a sellout definitely has us excited. Over half of the people are coming from outside of the state of Ohio, so it is going to have a major impact for our community, the region and the state.”
The event is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24, on the half-mile clay oval near Rossburg, Ohio. The Camping World Truck Series Mudsummer Classic will be the first dirt race in the circuit’s history, and the first NASCAR national-series event on a dirt track since a 1970 Cup Series race at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
Although the track did much of its business online, Saturday morning it still had eight people manning telephones, including some members of the Baltes family that owned the facility before three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart purchased it in 2004. A mecca for dirt racing, Eldora was built in 1954 and is one of the nation’s premier venues for sprint cars and dirt late models. It is not adding additional seats for the Truck Series event.
“It was like little kids on Christmas,” Slack said of the enthusiasm of those early ticket buyers. “At least 60 percent of them have never been to Eldora before, and they are telling us it is a bucket list visit -- like a baseball fan going to Fenway or Wrigley.”
Beyond its reserved seats, Eldora also features general admission hillside areas lining the turns. Slack said the track is encouraging fans to purchase tickets for those areas in advance, to guard against potentially overselling an event held on a weeknight. Including general admission areas, the facility can hold over 22,000 spectators.