ROSSBURG, OH (July 9) – An unconventional race format that typically meets with cheers from the fans and often with jeers from the competitors has proven itself to be one of the contributing factors to the longevity and success of Eldora Speedway’s Kings Royal. That format will carry over to this weekend’s (July 11 & 12) 31st annual running.
In an era where time trials play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of featured race line-ups, and many times, the eventual outcome, the unique Kings Royal design instead places increased emphasis on driver performance throughout the entire event.
While a driver’s quickest of two time-trial laps continues to be used for placement into one of the six qualifying Heat Races that are ‘staggered’ and ‘inverted’ by four; from that point forward, it is pretty much up to the driver and their finish.
Only three drivers advance from each Heat Race directly into the Kings Royal, rather than the typical five. Those three are then lined-up by their finish which adds even more intensity to the aggressiveness level.
One position can make a huge modification in the earned starting slot. Winner of Heat One starts sixth on the grid, while the winner of Heat Six starts in the revered pole position. That order switches for the runner-ups as second place in Heat One earns a seventh place role and second in Heat Six means position number twelve. The difference of finishing first to that of finishing second in Heat Six relates to eleven positions.
Finishers four through six advance to the B-Feature and the remainder of the field to a C-Feature where, again, the starting position is determined by the Heat Race finish.
Sometimes this alignment favors the driver, sometimes it works against them.
For last year’s victor, King XXX Brad Sweet, it worked just fine. After suffering engine woes during his time trial run, he limped through the timing clocks in 35th position and was faced with a sixth place line-up position in his Heat Race.
However, under the Kings Royal format, Sweet was aware that hope was not lost. He rallied through the field to capture a win in the fifth Heat Race and an outside starting position in the Kings Royal, which he went on to win.
A quick time trial lap remains favorable for a driver with a disappointing Heat Race finish, as immediately following completion of the six Heat Races, the fastest two drivers that have not progressed into the Kings Royal by their finish, are granted starting spots 19 and 20.
With 18 positions determined by Heat Race finishes and two more time trial provisionals, the remaining four slots are filled in order by the finish of the B-Feature, a driver’s final opportunity to join the chase for $50,000 and a coveted seat atop Eldora’s over-sized throne.
The drivers are aware of the format and enter Saturday’s chase knowing that while a time trial lap is important, a strong run in their Heat Race is even more important.
Remaining race tickets and campsites for the Kings Royal weekend (July 11 & 12) or any other exciting Eldora event, are available by going online to www.EldoraSpeedway.com. Additionally, tickets and campsites may be purchased through the Eldora offices during normal business hours by calling (937) 338-3815 or on race day.
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. Mobile device users can access the Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android which are available for download via iTunes and Google Play.