Eldora, in a day – 2015
Hello fellow friends of dirt, how yinz been? So I made my yearly trip to Eldora for the #World100. This was my 9th year in a row and I wanted to share some of the experiences and atmosphere from “The place that Earl built.”
7:04am – I leave the house with my lovely wife on Saturday morning and make the four and 1/2 hour trek west on route 70. A stop at Sheetz for coffee and Cabela’s store in Wheeling, WV is a given.
12:15pm – We arrived at the hotel and head to the Applebee’s across the street until the room is ready. We stay at the Hampton Inn in Troy, OH about 40 minutes before the track. It is an advantage to save those 40 minutes when we head home Sunday morning, believe me.
3:19pm – We arrive at the Eldora Speedway, and snag a parking spot behind the pit gate entrance. This year was different with Friday’s race rained out and run on Saturday morning at 10am. This threw off my timing I must admit, and parking spaces that are usually empty at this time were stuffed full. Since i would not see all of the make up races, we decided to enjoy some beverages and listen to James Essex and the radio broadcast team back at the car.
6:10pm – We are in the pit gate and walking hauler to hauler looking at the teams get ready for the heat races coming up shortly. I stopped to watch Kevin Rumley adjust the valves on the #6 car. Food and bathroom lines are getting long, better jump in now before we head track side. I also make my way over to Scott Bloomquists’ T-shirt trailer for my yearly donation.
7:53pm – Heat race #1 is heading out onto the race track. This is the moment that is so anticipated, it is hard to put into words. The buzz and anticipation in the air is amazing. Drivers know only the top 3 finishers will transfer to the A-main and no one holds back in these things. Everyone gets on their feet and are about to see the thing they drove here for and thought about since the last time they were here. This is it, THIS, is Eldora!
10:29pm – Random encounters happening now as “Texas” Terry Labonte and his son Justin come past and watch the #World100 beside me. I tell my wife who he is and that we may see him again in victory lane as he is part owner in Longhorn Chassis cars with his brother Bobby.
10:38pm – An awesome fireworks display and balls of fire go off as the cars circle the track preparing to take the green flag. My wife thinks they accidentally set off the grand finale. I assured her there were plenty left for the victory lane ceremony. I love watching the race from the infield, sitting in my camping chair and having all the room i would ever need. There is zero dust and the large video board is visible to see the action and replays as well as a rundown by position and laps remaining. Once in your life, watch the first 10 laps with your nose to the fence and those motors screaming wide open 10 feet away. Amazing!
11:10pm = Checkered flag waves as Jonathan Davenport dominates the race for his first #World100 victory. I can’t help but smile as Terry Labonte is up on the stage getting his picture taken. The entire team is usually subdued and quiet, but this is one time where they all are embracing the win and what it means to them. Notice that red broom in the pic below, as Davenport swept the Eldora crown jewels, the Dream and the World this year. The season this #6 team has had is the best ever in my opinion, and the amount of money won just from first place victories has topped $412, 000. It was an honor to witness it in person.
So there it is, Eldora in a day. For about $300 including pit passes, food, beer, Bloomquist shirt, and a hotel room you can do it too and its a must see event for dirt fans. I booked my room for next year, and can’t wait for that feeling as the cars hit the surface for heat #1.
See yinz at the track! – Brian “dobie” Compton