Superstar Racing Experience
Jonathan Davenport to Race at Lucas Oil Speedway With SRX
Aug 7, 2023
For the second time in the first three seasons, the Camping World SRX Series travels to Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio. The fifth round of the season also marks a two-race dirt stretch to end the season following four consecutive pavement races to begin the campaign.
Series regulars Marco Andretti, Hailie Deegan, Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman and Ken Schrader will be joined on Thursday Night Thunder (9 p.m., ESPN) by 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, 14-time NASCAR national series winner Chase Briscoe, 2004 IndyCar Series Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, and three-time NHRA Funny Car Champion Ron Capps.
Known as The World’s Greatest Dirt Track, the half mile, high-banked dirt oval has hosted many of the most prestigious races in the discipline. In fact, its entire schedule is a series of marquee events with the USAC-World of Outlaws #LetsRaceTwo, the Late Model Dream, Eldora Million, Kings Royal, World 100 and Four Crown Nationals inviting attendees from across the world.
Camping World SRX is a natural extension to one of the most stacked tracked schedules in motorsports
Deegan Emerges at Berlin
Hailie Deegan might have enjoyed her best racing start of any kind last weekend when she finished fifth at the challenging West Michigan bullring.
At first, Deegan said she felt disappointed to have only finished fifth in a race where she challenged the leaders up front until she realized that she was competitive all night against the likes of Schrader, Stewart, Helio Castroneves and Bobby Labonte all finishing behind her.
“I feel like things are starting to click a little bit more for me the past few weeks and I think it’s just because of how much we’re racing right now,” Deegan said. “Like we’re in the stride of the year, the heavy months and I’m constantly in a car like two to three times a week, between SRX and NASCAR.
“I feel like I'm just getting a little more aggressive, a little more up on the wheel when I’m racing against these guys. I get frustrated because I’m like man I couldn’t move (Kevin) Harvick off the bottom, but I had to realize what I just said because these guys are the best in the world for a reason.
“They have so much experience, so much knowledge and I feel like I’m learning every night in this series. Things are starting to click more and more so maybe a Truck race will go good for us soon too.”
Brad Keselowski Just Wants to Race
Keselowski says SRX has benefitted him on the NASCAR side more than most people would realize.
“You know, I ran the, the Richmond race, not this past weekend, but the weekend before and that coincided with running in Motor Mile,” Keselowski said. “And, you know, I feel like just getting in that rhythm of running races and I'm probably more of a rhythm driver than I would like to admit and I lose a little bit of confidence when that rhythm gets disrupted for whatever reason.
Keselowski says he wants the seat time for the same reason as Kyle Busch or Kyle Larson as they race all across the country across a variety of categories.
“I think there's always something to be learned when you drive a race car, and probably more so just being active with the reps,” Keselowski said. “It means a lot to me because I want to race. I'm a race car driver. The more reps I get, the more confident I feel in the car and I think that carries over to the Cup side as well.”
Andretti Quickly Takes to Dirt
Marco Andretti had never raced a dirt track prior to the 2021 Camping World SRX race at Eldora Speedway.
A drastic difference from the high-speed Indy cars he has raced for the past two decades, the night was surprisingly competent for the two-time IndyCar Series race winner.
Andretti finished fourth in the first heat, won the second heat and finished fourth in the main event. Andretti enters the dirt slate this year with even more confidence, but he’s not entirely sure why.
"I’m not very sure to be honest with you," Keselowski said. "I think, I really love trying to where the cars are going to end up because in IndyCar you don’t have a lot of that. You kind of set your corner, and there isn’t a lot you adjust with your entry and exit between the slightly different lines, but you have to search around for grip and it’s constantly changing.
"That’s been fun."
Eldora is a Dirt Racing Crown Jewel
Eldora Speedway has long set the dirt track standard in hospitality and amenities. While it's always proved to be a challenging race track, racers and fans alike both enjoy making multiple pilgrimages to the Rossburg half-mile for numerous events over the course of a given season for the campground, video screen, ballroom, suites and well-staffed but downright cheap concessions. When Tony Stewart purchased the track from the Baltes in 2004, he was tasked with maintaining those industry expectations. Not only has he met them, with a brand-new infield media center, infield care and concession line over the past decade, he is already mapping out what comes next.
"We're in the early stages, getting ready to reconstruct the ballroom, a place where Earl and Berniece (Baltes) were very passionate about," Stewart said. "We haven't done much with it in recent years but we're aiming for a multi-million-dollar renovation on the inside for fans and for racers. I have some larger, really expansive plans for the future that I can't wait to share, too."
All told, racers and fans love Eldora Speedway for reasons that extend far beyond the iconic track layout itself.
Camping World SRX Eldora Entry List
1 Marco Andretti
5 Hailie Deegan
6 Brad Keselowski
8 Matt Kenseth
14 Tony Stewart
18 Bobby Labonte
28 Ron Capps
33 Austin Dillon
39 Ryan Newman
52 Ken Schrader
57 Chase Briscoe
66 Tony Kanaan
Camping World SRX Standings (4/6)
1. Ryan Newman - 146
2. Brad Keselowski - 113 (-33)
3. Marco Andretti - 112 (-34)
4. Tony Stewart - 95 (-51)
5. Ken Schrader - 92 (-53)
6. Hailie Deegan - 91 (-54)
7. Ken Schrader - 91 (-54)
-SRX Racing Press Release
-Photo credit: Wayne Riegle/SRX