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.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
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Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.