As the owner of Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Tony Stewart has long had an important responsibility of promoting and managing one of dirt track racing's most historic speedways. And Saturday night in SRX, Stewart and another accomplished dirt racer showed off just what Eldora is all about.
Tony Stewart prevailed in a thrilling battle for the win across the final laps, holding off local all-star Kody Swanson to win his second race of the Camping World SRX Series season and sweep the series' slate of dirt races.
Stewart took the lead late in the main even after working in the high side of the racetrack, using that line to pass Swanson for the final time. Swanson began to match Stewart's line and tried to pull off a slidejob on Stewart, but wasn't able to clear the three-time Cup Champion.
SRX at Eldora Results
- Tony Stewart
- Cody Swanson
- Helio Castroneves
- Marco Andretti
- Paul Tracy
- Scott Speed
- Tony Kanaan
- Ernie Francis Jr.
- Willy T. Ribbs
- Michael Waltrip
- Bobby Labonte (DNF)
- Bill Elliott (DNF)
"Kody found the bottom. I couldn't roll the bottom as good as he could. I was real dependent on being up on the top," Stewart said in Victory Lane. "I just think that that's what Eldora does. The complexion of the track changes during the race. I thought the top was good at the beginning of the Main, and then Kody got just crushing everybody on the bottom and got rolling through there.
"But the good thing was when he went by everybody else, they all followed him down there like they were in a parade and left the top open. And the longer we went, I finally got the momentum going on the top and got back by."
Both Stewart and Swanson had to battle back from adversity in order to race each other for the win. Stewart had been set to start the feature from the pole, but he was forced to start at the rear of the field after accidentally hitting the kill switch on his car and having to come down pit road on pace laps. Swanson, meanwhile, was in a backup car after being collected in a five-car pileup in the second heat.
Besides the top two, one of the stars of the night was Paul Tracy, who led a chunk of laps while also showing off his classic aggressive streak: Tracy traded paint with Helio Castroneves fighting for the lead, and then caused a late-race crash that tore the front end off of Bobby Labonte's car. Labonte was unhappy with Tracy afterwards, one of two notable driver feuds during the night. In addition to Tracy and Labonte's dustup, Tony Kanaan and Ernie Francis Jr. also took turns running into each other.
With the dirt races for the Superstar Racing Experience now in the books, the SRX Series moves back onto asphalt next weekend with a visit to the legendary Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.