What Was The Best Race You’ve Ever Seen Or Attended?

Brad Sweet won the $175,000-to-win Kings Royal in 2019, which was the largest paying event of the year in dirt track racing! (Photos by Dirt Nerds Media)

It’s always a sad time of the year when the racing season comes to an end. There always seems to be a small amount of disbelief. We go through it every year. All of a sudden, October shows up, and the number of races starts to get smaller and smaller, and before you know it, there are no more events to attend unless you make a hefty road trip.

Thus begins the journey of what to do over the colder months until the racing season gets here. Some people may dedicate themselves to the local college football team. Others may take up one of their favorable indoor hobbies [shout out to all of the dirt RC racers out there].

Maybe watching NASCAR stars like Kyle Larson return to his dirt-track roots make an event memorable.

What Was The Best Race You Have Attended?

One thing we find entertaining is coming up with exciting topics to talk about that revolve around our dirt racing world. It’s always a good time to sit around with racing friends and family to discuss answers to loaded questions or scenarios that are pitched to them to gobble up like a Christmas goose! A loaded topic that has come into play recently is simple but also a heavy one.

One of our favorite loaded questions to debate centers around the best dirt race ever attended. Some find this an easy answer. For us, it’s the 2006 World 100 at Eldora Speedway.

This answer isn’t an unpopular one. The question was posted on the Dirt Nerds‘ podcast Facebook page, and the 2006 World 100 was a frequent answer. But this question also exposed many other answers.

Aaron Rueztal and Daryn Pittman do battle during a World of Outlaw event.

The 2006 World 100 is an easy answer because the top 5 cars were battling under a blanket for nearly the entire race. Not to mention Jeep VanWormer stole the show by bouncing off the wall racing hard for position. VanWormer went from leading to Fourth, then back to the lead, then back to Third, then back to the lead … and so on. Earl Pearson Jr. went on to take the checkers on what has been said to be the best World 100 of all time.

Brandon Sheppard won $125,000 at the 2019 Eldora Dream by half a car length!

What Makes A “Best Race” Ever?

Some folks answered more from the heart. They loved the one race they went to and watched their loved one grab their first race win. They’re definitely not alone on that one. Or maybe it was your first race or a race that made you fall in love with racing from the start. Personally, I’ve found my favorite races over the years include more criteria than just side-by-side racing.

One event close to my heart was going to a local track (Oakshade Raceway) to watch my uncle, Bill Hahn, race. A ritual for us was to visit the pits after the races. As a young race fan, I always loved getting around the car and hanging out in the trailer, or rather on the trailer as they were open haulers back then.

There was one particular event where my dad was out of town, and my mom still took us as usual for a Saturday night. I remember asking my mom before the A-main if we could go in the pits after the races. Her response was “no,” since my dad wasn’t there. After some intense negotiation, my mom finally succumbed to our nagging — with one condition — we could go in the pits after the races IF my uncle won the feature.

Regional events can also be a great place to watch some great side-by-side racing.

In the mind of a youngster like myself, the set condition was the equivalent of finding intelligent life on Mars! Back in the ’90s at Oakshade, we had drivers like Kris Patterson, Shane Yoder, and Justin Paxton racing every weekwith a variety of other top-notch talents. Needless to say, winning was anything but easy. But on this particular night, the stars aligned, and my uncle was able to pick up the win, which meant I was able to make the coveted trip pit-side.

Non-wing sprint cars can often be found putting on great shows throughout the midwest. Other significant events noted were the Eldora Million and the Mopar Million held at Eldora Speedway. If you’re newer to dirt racing, you may have heard about these events as folklore. They were mega events put on by the legendary Earl Baltes and still to this day have payouts that are yet to be topped.

I remember watching Donnie Moran hoist the Million Dollar check in Victory Lane and Earl also giving one of his classic lines there: “Don’t worry if this check doesn’t clear, we have a whole book of them.” The race itself may not have been the most exhilarating but still, by all means, legendary.

It’s no oddity to see the USAC National Sprint Car Series battling three-wide.

The Mopar Million

Following up the Eldora Million was the non-wing Sprint Car, Mopar Million. It paid a million-dollar purse and a whopping $200,000 to the winner, Jac Haudenschild. Promising to pay $10,000 just to start, it made many full-time winged drivers attempt to tackle the wingless feat. The event paid off for drivers like Haudenschild and runner up Stevie Smith, both full-time World of Outlaw drivers at the time.

Jac Haudenschild may be known for his winged Sprint Car body of work, but he also owns the only $200,000 Mopar Million victory.

What do you think makes a great race? We personally like the topic because there is no wrong answer! Each and every one of us has our own criteria for what makes a race special. It also creates a lot of bench racing which always leads to a great discussion.

Sometimes racing can even be a little too close for competitors.

What do you think makes a great race? We like the topic because there is no wrong answer! Every one of us has our criteria for what makes a race special. It also creates a lot of bench racing, which always leads to a great discussion.

 

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