Mike Helton Talks Dirt Racing on FOX Sports' SPEED
NASCAR President Mike Helton made his way to the Hollywood Hotel prior to the inaugural running of the Mudsummer Classic from Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Tonight’s event marked the first dirt race in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history and the first premier series dirt race for NASCAR in more than 40 years.
Helton was on FOX Sports’ SPEED pre-race show, NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda, chatting about the race, and what it may mean towards the future of NASCAR. Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer was also a co-host for tonight’s show.
Here are the key quotes from Helton’s interview:
Krista Voda: What does it (the Mudsummer Classic) mean for the sport?
Mike Helton: It’s big, and you’ve talked about it, and Clint mentioned it a while ago, the fact that it not only gives us a Wednesday night level of excitement, it also gives us, NASCAR, and motorsports in general, an opportunity to show dirt track racing to the world. There’s going to be a lot of fans watching tonight’s race who will learn an awful lot about dirt, as its explained when you call dirt track racing. So it’s fun. I’m here more as a fan than anything because I wanted to see this race here tonight. I compliment Tony (Stewart) on keeping Eldora, this facility going, elevating it, and doing what he’s done in giving us the opportunity to bring the Truck Series here tonight.
Clint Bowyer: Mike, first of all, thank you so much for tasking this opportunity, and taking the chance for dirt racing. It’s a big step and something that’s a lot of fun. From the word go, I knew it was going to be big. My question is what’s next? Where do we go with dirt racing? And on top of that – the Wednesday night deal – it’s pretty interesting that you guys chose to go with a mid-week thing. Can we expect that for our series?
Helton: I think one of the magnetisms about tonight is that it’s unique. It’s Wednesday night; we run Wednesday night in Bristol (Tenn.). There are a couple of truck races now on Wednesday night… how far that goes we’ll have to wait and see. I think that’s what makes tonight very special, the fact that it is a combination of Wednesday night racing, on a dirt track, which has been a long-time coming from a lot of our fans who requested it. So, tonight is very unique, and that’s what makes it special. What the future holds? We’ll see, but I know tonight is something everybody is going to check off and say that was a historic moment.