Since 2013, the Eldora Dirt Derby at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway has been a must-see event. Pitting the stars of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series against a host of dirt ringers has been extremely entertaining to watch.
One of those dirt ringers is now getting a shot at NASCAR glory for the second-straight year at the 1/2-mile, high-banked oval. DGR-Crosley announced today that accomplished dirt racer, Kyle Strickler will drive the team’s No. 54 Toyota Tundra entry in the 2019 edition of the Eldora Dirt Derby. Jerovetz Shock Service and Donaldson Grading have partnered with Strickler for the famed event, which will be held on Thursday, August 1.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to work with David [Gilliland] and the guys at DGR-Crosley,” said Strickler. “I feel like things are coming full circle. My first job in NASCAR was working in a fab shop for a team that David was racing for [in the then NASCAR Busch Series]. He won that year in Kentucky, and that win helped propel him into the Cup Series. So, to say it’s cool that I now have a shot at winning for David is an understatement.”
Earlier this year, Strickler competed in a Dirt Super Late Model at Eldora Speedway during the annual Dirt Late Model Dream. He led several laps in the $125,000-to-win finale before a late-race melee positioned him 14th in the final rundown.
Kyle made his NASCAR Truck Series debut last season in the Eldora Dirt Derby. In his lone Truck Series start, he was involved in an accident that relegated him to a 31st-place finish.
“DGR-Crosley has a lot of really great people within their organization – many of them with a lot of dirt racing experience,” Strickler remarked. “Knowing that I’m going to Eldora in top-notch equipment is a great feeling. The dirt racing community has been so supportive and excited for me to get this opportunity. I’ve had a bunch of individuals chip in to make this possible, and I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Strickler will have veteran Crew Chief Frank Kerr coaching from atop the pit box. Kerr, a retired Sprint Car driver, has won four track championships at Eldora Speedway, four All-Star championships, and five Ohio Speed Week championships.
“It’s really awesome that Kyle is racing for us at DGR-Crosley,” said Kerr. “I worked with him a lot early in his modified career, and we won a lot of races together. I’m excited to be reunited with him and work with him on the NASCAR side at Eldora, a track that means a lot to me personally. I think Kyle is going to do a great job.”
With two DGR-Crosley Tundras in the race, Strickler will have a teammate in Truck Series rookie, Tyler Ankrum. The Eldora Dirt Derby will kick-off on Thursday, Aug. 1 and will be broadcast live on FS1. Qualifying coverage starts at 7:00 p.m., ET with the race starting at 9:00 p.m.