Eldora Speedway was the vision of Earl Baltes over five decades ago. Earl crafted the legendary track in Rossburg, Ohio from a cornfield in 1954. Over the next 50 years, his efforts yielded one of top dirt tracks in the world. Along the way, Earl was inducted into the inaugural class of the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame, earned the respect of every track owner, promoter, and race car driver across America, and most recently was voted most influential in dirt late model racing. Earl’s name will always be synonymous with the past and future success of Eldora Speedway.
Eldora Speedway opened as a 1/4 mile clay oval track. Two years later, the distance increased to 3/8 mile and in 1958 the track grew to its current half-mile configuration. Over its history, Eldora has hosted races for stock cars, late models, modifieds, midgets, and sprint cars. Various sanctioning bodies have raced at Eldora through the years, including USAC, ARCA, UMP, CRA, All Star Sprints, and World of Outlaws Sprints. Some consider the “Big E” the fastest half-mile dirt track in the world.
In 2004, NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart purchased Eldora Speedway from Earl Baltes.
The change in ownership has hardly affected the prestige and mystique of Eldora. Earl Baltes is still as much a part of the track as the clay surface and the 24 degree turns. Stewart has made many positive changes for its fans and drivers, and Eldora remains the same legendary track that Baltes built over a half-century ago.
The official website for Eldora Speedway can be found here
- Prelude to the Dream (Late Models Charity Event)
The Prelude to the Dream is a charity event in support of several different beneficiaries. The event has attracted drivers such as NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, alongside superstars Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, and Kyle Busch. Only pride is on the line on this night as the top NASCAR stars battle for dirt track supremacy driving late model cars. 2011 marked the 7th Annual Prelude to the Dream; Clint Bowyer won the race for the first time. The race is televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
- Dirt Late Model Dream (UMP Late Models)
In 1995, Earl Baltes recognized a number of higher paying late model races at other dirt tracks. His reaction: offer an unprecedented $100,000 to the winner of his newest creation – the Dirt Late Model Dream. 234 drivers pre-registered for the inaugural Dream in 1995. Not much has changed nearly a decade and a half later: the 17th Annual Dream paid Don O'Neal $100,000 in June 2011.
- Kings Royal (World of Outlaw Sprints)
The Kings Royal is a $50,000 event on the World of Outlaws 410 Sprint Car Series schedule. The Kings Royal is widely recognized as one of the top sprint car events in the world, offering one of the largest prize pools annually. The 2011 28th Annual Kings Royal was won by Tyler Walker.
- World 100 (UMP Late Models)
The World 100 is the ‘grand daddy’ of all late model races in the United States. The first World 100 ran in 1971; Earl Baltes paid $4,000 to the winner. Each year he added $1,000 to the prize money and the 41th Annual World 100 paid $44,000 to Jimmy Owens in September 2011. Each year nearly 200 cars show up for the World 100 and only 28 cars make the feature race.