ROSSBURG — With 185 completed events and 71 different winners, Eldora Speedway and the United States Auto Club (USAC) enters its 53rd consecutive year of association on the venerable half-mile clay oval Saturday evening with the annual Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic for traditional non-winged Sprint Cars and some interesting statistics.
Of the 71 different winners, 39 have repeated their Eldora wins at least one time, and four of them remain active in USAC racing. Ironically those four account for 12 wins out of the past 16 USAC National Sprint Car Series events at Eldora to shut out drivers aspiring to either increase their presence on the win list or etch their name into the Eldora archives.
Veteran Tracy Hines sits second on the all-time win list and has been the most prolific of the quartet by capturing five of his nine Eldora wins during this time span, a period in which Robert Ballou has scored his three USAC wins. Jerry Coons, Jr. picked up two of his three wins during this interval with current USAC point leader Dave Darland notching one win to increase his total to four.
Now retired from active racing, Levi Jones was in that 16-race mix that includes Brad Sweet, Kyle Larson and most recently Chris Windom as first-time USAC winners at Eldora.
Darland, Hines, Coons Jr., Ballou and Windom are expected to compete Saturday in anticipation of increasing their win count and extending the momentum of repeat winners. Their opposition will be a bevy of drivers seeking their first USAC checkered flag at the historic Rossburg speed plant.
Atop that list are the four drivers that follow Darland in the current USAC point ranking, including two-time defending champion Bryan Clauson. Clauson’s resume shows two USAC Silver Crown victories at Eldora but none in the division that he has dominated in over the past two years. That fact, plus, by his standards, a disappointing fourth-place ranking will be the fuel behind his drive Saturday.
Justin Grant (second), Chase Stockon (third) and Brady Bacon (fifth) also continue their chase toward the USAC national championship Saturday winless in Eldora competition, a fact they hope to change. Hines enters the fray seventh in the point chase while Ballou is ninth and Coons, Jr. 16th.
Completing the tripleheader program Saturday evening will be the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds and Eldora Stock Cars, with a 7:30 p.m. race starting time. Tickets for Saturday night or any of the other events on Eldora’s menu may be purchased by going to the track’s website, www.EldoraSpeedway.com, or by calling the track office during normal business hours at 937-338-3815.
Additionally, race fans and race teams can get behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, hitting “Like” at Facebook.com/EldoraSpeedway and view video highlights at YouTube.com/EldoraSpeedwayInc. Mobile device users can access the Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android which is available for download via iTunes and Google Play.