The Eldora Million returns in 2022 with late model’s most lucrative prize

Eldora Million
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In a season already marked by record payouts in the World of Outlaws Late Model and Sprint Car Series, Eldora Speedway announced The Eldora Million will return as part of the Late Model Dream weekend on Thursday, June 9, 2022.

For the second time in late model history, one million dollars will be on the line for the winning driver.

And yes, you read correctly: One Million goes to the winner, that is not the total purse for the weekend. In fact, the winner will pocket $1,002,022, in deference to the prize being awarded in 2022.

“I have said from the first day I took ownership of Eldora that we want to make Earl and Berneice (Baltes) proud and continue to push the limits of race promotion,” said Tony Stewart, owner of Eldora Speedway. “I can’t think of a better way to honor their legacy than bringing back The Eldora Million one more time for both our longtime drivers and fans as well as a whole new generation who have only heard about it.”

Seeding for Thursday’s heats and last chance qualifiers will be held on Wednesday with a full slate of tournament-style features.

The lucrative race will be a part of the Late Model Dream weekend, which pays $128,000 to win and will be run on June 11. As a result, nearly two million in total prize money will be up for grabs in the span of four days.

All four days of the show will be streamed live by FloRacing.com.

“Tony Stewart and his team keep raising the bar with their incredible events at the legendary Eldora Speedway,” said Mark Floreani, CEO and Co-Founder of FloSports. “Their commitment to motorsports has been integral to the growth of FloRacing and we are proud to support their mission to bring this sport to an even wider audience around the world.”

The inaugural Eldora Million was scheduled for October, 2000 until heavy rains and cold temperatures delayed it until the following June.

Donnie Moran executed a slide job on “The Real Deal”, Don O’Neal on Lap 25 of the 100-lapper and held the lead for the remainder of the race, making him Eldora’s first Million Dollar Man.

This year, Devin Moran and Hudson O’Neil will try to replicate that storyline, only with the sons taking reprising the role their fathers had just over 20 years ago.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.