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Eldora Speedway reschedules Dirt Late Model Dream to June 2021

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The Dirt Late Model Dream, one of the most prestigious events in dirt racing, has been rescheduled to early June 2021, Eldora Speedway announced late Tuesday night.

Citing crowd restrictions from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 67th season of racing remains on hold for the half-mile oval in Rossburg, Ohio, that is owned by Tony Stewart.

The track said it’s working with state and local officials to hold a Dirt Late Model event without fans June 4-6. The event, which would be streamed, is awaiting government approval.

Here’s a release from the track on the p:

ROSSBURG, Ohio (May 19, 2020) – Eldora Speedway officials have announced the 26th running of the Dirt Late Model Dream, one of the legendary half-mile dirt oval’s marquee events, has been rescheduled to early June 2021.

With restrictions on mass gatherings issued by federal and state authorities remaining in effect, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic continues to have Eldora’s 67th season of racing on hold and additional events scheduled for June are also in jeopardy.

All advance tickets, pit passes, campsites and suite admissions for the 26th Dirt Late Model Dream will be honored for the rescheduled date in early June 2021. Race fans should retain all tickets, credentials, passes and receipts they have received to date.

Information, including frequently asked questions and answers, has been posted at https://www.eldoraspeedway.com/dream-covid/. Officials will communicate updated event information direct to patron accounts as it becomes available, on www.EldoraSpeedway.com and via Eldora’s official social channels.

Meanwhile, Speedway officials continue to work with local and state agencies on determining a safe return to racing for all constituents. Crafted with guidance from local and state officials, Eldora is developing a plan for a ‘non-spectator’ event to take place on the weekend of June 4th-5th-6th. The proposal, currently in review, consists of Dirt Late Model teams working in a controlled and closed setting for an invitational event streamed exclusively online at FloRacing.com.

Access to the event will be restricted to working track and series officials, pre-approved racers and pit crews, ambulance and EMS responders, the track fire and safety team, and members of the broadcast production team. All participants will be required to follow a defined safety protocol, including but not limited to pre-entry medical screening, wear mandatory cloth face coverings, and maintain social distancing of six feet. The event is being planned in accordance with the latest CDC, OHSA, federal, state and local guidance.

Additional details surrounding this burgeoning event will be released upon approval of local and state authorities.

IndyCar: Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas Motor Speedway

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The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race.

With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car starts was to end with the season opener March 15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fate had other plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the postponement of St. Pete (now the season finale in October) amid the shutdown of American sports.

IndyCar has made multiple changes to its 2020 schedule since then, and as a result, Kanaan is getting an opportunity to extend his “Ironman” streak.

The 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is set for career start No. 318 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway – driving the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet alongside the team’s new full-season driver, Charlie Kimball, in the No. 4 Chevy.

“A lot of people ask me how I coped with the delay of the season,” Kanaan said Monday in an IndyCar Zoom news conference. “To be honest, I was mentally prepared already because my first real race was going to be the [Indy] 500. My mind was already set for May.

“I only really had to delay, what, a couple of weeks from what I was originally scheduled to do. For me, I think it wasn’t as hard as for the other guys that were already in St. Pete, ready to go.”

But while his mindset is locked in, Kanaan notes that he’s been out of a race car for eight months. In fact, as of Monday, he hadn’t sat in a car fitted with the new Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.

However, he is no stranger to the wild and woolly action at Texas. Ditto for his new-slash-old teammate, Kimball: The two competed together at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17.

That experience is something A.J. Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt is grateful to have on his side.

“Going into this race, it’s huge,” Foyt said. “Especially with the one-day show, everything is accelerated, and going to a big track like Texas, having a guy like Charlie sit on the pole there [in 2017], knows his way around there, and obviously TK is very good there, as well.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for sure. Anything can happen, but the engineering group has been working really well together. We’re really hopeful we’re going to unload and get these guys some good cars out of the box. That’s the plan.”

Speaking of Kimball, the Californian is set to revive his full-time career in the sport after making just seven starts last season with Carlin.

He’s enjoyed his unexpected free time at home with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Hannah and newborn son Gordon, who arrived in March. But he’s grateful to get back in the car – and to accompany Tony on his ‘last lap.’

“We’re friends off the track,” Charlie said. “We train together. He’s gotten me addicted to riding a bicycle on a computer game, but also our wives are friends, and I think our families when we can get together and the kids can play, I think they’re going to interact really well. I’m excited for his daughter Nina to spend some time with our daughter.

“And the experience – I mean, he’s taught me things and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to restart on ovals and what you can and what you should and shouldn’t do and what he still does. That experience is invaluable to me to continue to learn and get better. I just feel really honored to be his teammate during his last lap, especially when we get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.”

The NTT IndyCar Series season begins Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway with the Genesys 300 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.