The Eldora Million returns in 2023, but this time it is available for sprint car drivers.
Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart announced an unsanctioned sprint car race will be held on July 12-13 with a total purse of $1.4 million and a little more than $1 million paid to the winner.
Last year, the speedway resurrected the Eldora Million for late models after a 21-year hiatus. Jonathan Davenport held off a late-race charge from Chris Madden and Tim McCreadie to win the $1,002,022 purse. This year, the prize has one dollar added to the payout in deference to it being held in 2023.
“All of us at Eldora are super excited to host the first million-dollar-to-win sprint car race,” said Stewart in a press release. “Back in 2003, Eldora hosted a non-wing race that paid $200,000 to winner Jac Haudenschild, but this will be the first time a sprint car driver will race for a winner’s check worth $1 million.
“This will showcase the best of the best, and you’re going to want to see how this race unfolds where in the final laps, with guys still in the hunt running close together, what they will do to win a million dollars.”
The 2023 Eldora Million falls between two World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series races also held in Ohio. The Brad Doty Classic will be held at Attica (Ohio) Raceway on July 11 and the Kings Royal is scheduled for July 14-15. Rules for that series include an exclusivity bonus for drivers that run no more than four races outside of the Outlaws. Drivers can run up to eight races and still be eligible for the points fund and its bonuses, but those races must be outside of 48 hours or a 100-mile radius on either side of a scheduled event.
Attica is 135 miles from Rossburg, where Eldora is located, but the Brad Doty Classic is only 24 hours removed. The World of Outlaws have not yet announced whether an exception will be made for this event.
In its history, Eldora Speedway has hosted 16 previous races with six-figure paydays including 12 Historic Big Ones and three Kings Royals that have paid that much. The Outlaws’ sanctioned 2023 Kings Royal will pay $175,000 to win.
“I think it’s been long overdue,” Stewart, who enters his 19th season as owner of Eldora, added. “We’ve had two, $1 million-to-win dirt late model races at Eldora, but to finally do it for the sprint car community is something that makes all of us at Eldora really proud. Sprint car drivers put on some of the best shows in all of racing and this is our way of saying thank you.”
The Eldora Million feature on Thursday will be seeded by preliminary races held on Wednesday. Drivers will be split into two groups with 12,000-to-win features.
“This format will offer an exciting, unique program of racing on Wednesday and Thursday for fans and competitors,” said Jerry Gappens, General Manager of Eldora. “Wednesday’s program is a ‘big bang for the buck’ for the fans with … twin 25-lap features. For competitors, it basically compresses two nights of preliminary action into one night and guarantees 48 different cars will race in a feature.”