2013 Earl Baltes Classic News and Facts
ROSSBURG, OH (Aug. 29) – Sunday’s (Sept. 1) return to racing action on Eldora Speedway’s venerable .500-mile clay oval, the WIX Filters Baltes Classic, carries with it multiple story lines; recognition of the track founders, final opportunity for valuable track time before the 43rd annual running of The World 100 and the determination of Eldora’s 2013 Stock Car champion.
Under the watchful eyes of Earl and Berneice Baltes, Eldora grew from a bountiful corn field into the Nation’s most recognized racing facility. Earl began carving Eldora in late 1953, and from the first race in June of 1954, he never let his guard down; constantly working to keep his prized jewel in the spotlight. Berneice was right there with him throughout that progression; through the sale of the famed facility in the fall of 2004 to three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.
One of Stewart’s first scheduling moves was to create an annual event in recognition of the hard work and dedication of Earl and Berneice – the Baltes Classic.
Running under the Sunoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) banner, Sunday’s 25-lap, $3,000 to win, chase kicks off a busy Late Model run at Eldora that spotlights six main events over the course of a seven-day period (World 100 September 5-6-7). While the increase of $1,000 over the standard ALMS winning payout and valuable cumulative points towards the ALMS and Eldora Speedway championship titles are valuable incentives, a much sought-after asset for dirt Late Model racers is ‘track time’.
Defending Stock Car champion Barney Craig enters the tripleheader with a comfortable nineteen point margin over Earnie Woodard, who is chasing his first-ever title.
VANWORMER’S ALMS STRONGHOLD IN JEOPARDY
ROSSBURG, OH (Aug. 29) – Jeep Vanwormer’s position as the leading feature winner in Sunoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) racing action at Eldora Speedway is in jeopardy this Sunday evening. Parity has been the keyword when it comes to ALMS racing at Eldora, with 32 different winners through 68 events; but it is Pinconning, Michigan’s VanWormer atop that list with six victories.
VanWormer broke a five-win, three-way, tie with former ALMS champions Brian Ruhlman and Kris Patterson when he captured the ALMS point awarding UMP DIRTcar Nationals in 2011. The following ALMS season opened up with Matt Miller taking the victory, his fifth, to put him in company with Patterson and Ruhlman; one conquest short of VanWormer’s accumulation.
Patterson has since retired from the racing scene, leaving Ruhlman and Miller as current threats to VanWormer’s stronghold.
EARNIE WOODARD NOT GIVING UP HOPE ON SECURING FIRST STOCK CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
ROSSBURG, OH (Aug. 29) – Earnie Woodard is not giving up hope. Several years ago Woodard migrated from his childhood home of Union City, OH to Georgetown, KY for professional reasons; yet that has yet to interfere with the second generation driver’s goal of capturing an Eldora Speedway championship.
His father, Al, has graced the Eldora championship stage four times, with Stock Car titles in 1970 and ’71, and Late Model honors in 1976 and ’77. Al continues to serve as Earnie’s crew chief and accompanies him on the 350-mile round trips.
Multiple times the Woodard team has been in contention to grab seasonal honors, only to have Lady Luck raise her hand and keep the quiet, but determined, chauffeur off the podium.
Sunday’s WIX Filters Baltes Classic will serve as Eldora’s final Stock Car event of the season, and going into the contest, Woodard is nineteen points behind defending champion Barney Craig in the cumulative chase.
While not insurmountable, the gap is improbable, as Woodard would have to finish 20 positions ahead of Craig in the 15-lap finale. Should Lady Luck move camp from Woodard to Craig there could be a new Stock Car champion at Eldora. Earnie Woodard is not giving up hope.
AARON ORR SEEKING MODIFIED TITLE UPSET OVER JERRY BOWERSOCK
ROSSBURG, OH (Aug. 29) – Veteran Jerry Bowersock carries a slim five point championship chase margin over young upstart Aaron Orr into Sunday’s UMP DIRTcar Modified portion of the WIX Filters Baltes Classic. With the season beginning to wind down, Bowersock is seeking his third Modified title in six years; while an Orr upset would extend the streak of non-repeat champions to five years.
Neither of the two has finished outside of the top 10 this season, with Bowersock averaging a 4.5 finish, including a May 18 win, while Orr’s 5.17 average was boosted by a runner-up finish on June 22.
Over the past two Modified chases on Eldora’s famed .500-mile clay oval, Orr has narrowed the gap between himself and Bowersock by eight points. A continuation of that trend over the remaining five point awarding events could net him his first-ever Eldora crown.
Complete information for the WIX Filters Baltes Classic and other upcoming events, along with ticket and campsite purchase opportunities, may be obtained by visiting the track’s website www.EldoraSpeedway.com, or by calling the speedway office 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. The new Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android is now available for download via iTunes and Google Play.