Ryan King looking to make the most of Eldora opportunity

Ryan King

To the disappointment of many Dirt Late Model racing enthusiasts, Eldora Speedway announced earlier in the year that it would not host the tradition-laden World 100 in September of 2020 due to concerns and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Tony Stewart-owned track located in Rossburg, OH will offer up racing action in the Intercontinental Classic. That three-day event in which invited competitors will race in $10,000-to-win features on Thursday and Friday nights(Sept. 10 & 11) then for a $50,000 winner’s purse on Saturday evening(Sept. 12) will seek to provide a fix for those who enjoy racing action on the track originally opened by promoter Earl Baltes in 1954.

This event is somewhat similar to the invitation-only Dirt Late Model Stream held in June as a replacement to the highly lucrative Dirt Late Model Dream.

A total of 44 drivers were invited to participate in the September event that will be shown live by subscription-based provider FloRacing.com. After those invitations were sent, fans were allowed to vote four additional drivers into the program.

With dozens of names offered up for consideration, Ryan King of Seymour, TN emerged as one of those four racers who would receive an at-large bid to race on the hallowed grounds at one of dirt racing’s showcase facilities. King’s family as well as his Warrior Race Cars team pushed hard on social media to round up votes for the upcoming set of races.

“It was pretty cool,” King replied to InsideDirtRacing.com when asked to relate his feelings on placing among the top-four vote recipients. “I guess it was back in June they did that other vote and we didn’t really push that one as much as far as sharing it on Facebook and everything trying to get the vote up.”

King admitted there was some disappointment over not getting to go to the June races at Eldora.

“We were really let down when they did that deal as far as doing the invite-only and we had really wanted to go to that,” the 29-year-old driver recalled. “So this time we thought we would really push this deal to see if we could make it. To be honest, I really didn’t have high expectations as far as making it through the vote so I was surprised when it got closer and closer and we were moving on up. I thought ‘Dang, we’ve really got a shot at getting in this thing’. I’m really thankful to everybody that did vote for us and supported us to help us get there.”

Ryan King’s No. 1G Warrior Race Cars house car

King agrees that receiving the fan vote brings with it the added pressure of having to prove that he and his team were worthy of the honor bestowed on them by their supporters.

“It does, it really does,” he pointed out. “And with the year we’ve been having too, not just the vote, but everything combined. We’ve been running a little better and we’ve always done pretty decent up there at Eldora. We led some laps last year in a heat race and we were in a position to make the show. With the field cut down to 50 cars, I feel like we’ve got a good shot to make it this year.”

The racer who has won track and series championships around the east Tennessee region says that the half-mile Eldora layout calls for a very different driving style than what he uses most of the time.

“It’s a whole different style of racing,” King declared. “You don’t really understand that until you go up there and try it. You can ask Cory(Hedgecock) and Donald(McIntosh) and some those guys and they’ll tell you it’s a totally different style of racing when you go up there. Some guys adapt quick and some guys don’t.”

And more than the style of racing, the historic nature of the Eldora facility adds to the mystique of any race held at the venue located among the corn fields of western Ohio.

“It’s a totally different experience every time you go up there,” King explained. “That’s what I tell people who have never been, I tell them they need to go at least once just to experience it. You can’t really compare it to anything else. It’s its own thing so that’s what’s cool about it.”

So what will be King’s measuring stick in terms of labeling his upcoming trip to Eldora a success?

“Getting into the feature on Saturday is going to determine if we’re successful or not. In the past we’ve qualified good and ran good in heat races and made preliminary shows and run fairly decent in some of them so our success hinges on making the big show.”

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