Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

NASCAR Eldora 2013: Austin Dillon holds off Kyle Larson to win NASCAR's return to dirt

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Austin Dillon returned to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the same night NASCAR retuned to dirt, and everyone was a winner.

Racing in the series for the first time since winning the 2011 championship, Dillon pulled away during a green-white-checkered-flag finish to win Wednesday night's CarCash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway, the first dirt-track race in any of NASCAR's top three series since Richard Petty won at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh on Sept. 30, 1970.

Before an enthusiastic packed house at the half-mile dirt track owned by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, Dillon held off Kyle Larson to claim his fifth NCWTS win. Ryan Newman ran third behind Dillon and Larson, followed by Joey Coulter and Brendan Gaughan.

Using his dirt track experience to work his way through traffic, Larson charged from his 13th-place starting position to the lead during the first 60-lap segment of the race. On Lap 39, Larson passed Timothy Peters for the top spot and pulled away to a lead of more than three seconds.

On Lap 54, NASCAR called a caution after debris from Scott Bloomquist's Toyota landed in the racing groove, and that yellow carried over through the end of the first segment.

Larson led the field to green to start the second segment of 50 laps, but on Lap 89 Austin Dillon grabbed the top spot in heavy traffic. The segment ended with Larson in hot pursuit of Dillon but unable to complete the pass.

After pit stops, Dillon and Larson took the green side by side to commence the final 40 laps.

Though a series of five heat races determined the starting order for the main event, Ken Schrader, 58, earned the distinction as the pole winner during time trials that preceded the heats. Benefiting from an early draw, Schrader covered the half-mile distance in 19.709 seconds (91.329 mph) to become the oldest pole winner in any of NASCAR's top three touring series.

That distinction had belonged to Dick Trickle, who in 1999 won a NASCAR Nationwide Series pole at Dover at age 57.

Schrader won the first heat race from the pole, holding off fast-closing J.R. Heffner, to lock himself into the top starting position for the 150-lap main event. The NASCAR veteran clearly was excited about his effort after the first heat race.

This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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