Race Weekend Central

SRX Preview: Eldora the Explorer

Eldora Speedway marks the first of two dirt tracks that will close out the 2023 Camping World SRX Series season.

The tour will head there on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Owned by SRX co-owner Tony Stewart, Eldora has long been regarded as one of the crown jewels of dirt tracks in the country.

See also
SRX Review: Rowdy Goes Back-to-Back in Crash-Free Berlin Race

Eldora’s wide track length and relatively low amount of banking allow for plenty of side-by-side racing. The chase to find the best, ever-changing line around these tracks is a crucial component to dirt racing.

Last week’s event at Berlin Raceway went completely wreck-free. That’s not too likely to happen this week, as SRX on dirt has almost always been a bit of a crash-fest.

Stepping into the Paul Tracy spot that the Canadian left when he was suspended from SRX is none other than Chase Briscoe. The NASCAR Cup Series regular has had a lot of success on dirt over the years and began on the discipline before making the jump to pavement full time in 2016, winning an ARCA Menards Series championship in the process.

This will mark the first time that Briscoe has actively raced his boss, mentor and childhood hero Stewart in a race, making this already a very memorable appearance.

Here is the full driver list for this week’s event, ordered by their last name and with guest drivers in italics:

Marco Andretti1Camping World
Chase Briscoe57High Point
Ron Capps28NAPA
Hailie Deegan5Good Sam
Austin Dillon33???
Tony Kanaan66Purdue University
Matt Kenseth8???
Brad Keselowski6Camping World
Bobby Labonte18Sport Clips
Ryan Newman39South Point
Ken Schrader52Federated Auto Parts
Tony Stewart14Bass Pro Shops

Now let’s look at three of the superstars starting in Thursday night’s race.

Probably the most interesting name on the entry list this week is three-time NHRA Funny Car champion Ron Capps.

Outside of iRacing, Capps has never raced on an oval before. It’s a bit of a transition, but it’s also not impossible. Craftsman Truck Series regular Tanner Gray came up through drag racing before shifting gears into NASCAR.

Capps has won 73 times in NHRA Funny Car, second only to the great John Force. The Californian has tested a stock car before informally, but even then, the added element of dirt has thrown quite a twist in the proceedings.

Tony Stewart has not had a great SRX season, but at the very least, he’ll be the overwhelming favorite on dirt this season.

The former USAC Triple Crown champion has been all but unstoppable on dirt, winning the first three dirt features in SRX’s history and only getting beaten by current Cup star Chase Elliott in the fourth.

Even with Briscoe and Dillon in the field this week, Stewart’s now years of experience with the SRX car and back hand knowledge of Eldora should give him the edge over the rest of the field.

This week marks the final scheduled start for Tony Kanaan in SRX and perhaps the final race for the Brazilian in America. Kanaan may not be able to do much on the dirt, but don’t take that as indicative of his year as he’s had some fast runs this season.

See also
Kasey Kahne & Johnny Benson Enjoyed Berlin SRX Debut, Potentially Open to More

The veteran Brazilian Stock Cars driver had a bit of a rough transition period to SRX cars in the first two years. But his run at the second Stafford Motor Speedway race this year was impressive, in which he almost won were it not for a brake failure late in the race.

And if this is it, he’s had a great career. The former NTT IndyCar Series champion won 17 IndyCar races in his long career, including the 2013 Indianapolis 500. A lot of people will claim that Kanaan spent so many years retiring that it ended up hurting his legacy in some aspects, especially considering he hasn’t won in IndyCar since 2014.

But don’t tell that to the Indianapolis faithful. He hasn’t been almost adopted by them like compatriot Helio Castroneves has, but he still remains a beloved and memorable driver to many who frequent the Brickyard.

All the SRX action at Eldora Speedway begins at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 10, with TV coverage provided by ESPN.

About the author

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Capps has run dirt ovals. I believe he has competed in Tony’s “Prelude to the dream” series. Oh by the way. It ran at Eldora

Share via