When Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions visits any dirt track, it’s a big night. When the auto racing legend gets behind the wheel and captures the checkered flag during the track’s signature summer event, it becomes an event fans will remember for years to come.
Central Pennsylvania racing fans enjoyed that experience on Sunday, Aug. 26 as Stewart, the three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, emerged from a field of 24 of the country’s top dirt racers to win the Justin Snyder Salute the Troops race at BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Pa.
Stewart led the final 13 laps of the 30-lap Main feature over a field that included Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Larson and former NASCAR driver and World of Outlaws champion Dave Blaney. Stewart passed Paul McMahan for the lead on Lap 18 and topped former NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Cale Conley by 1.191 seconds at the finish. National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Lance Dewease was third followed by McMahan in fourth and Aaron Reutzel in fifth.
Dover International Speedway was the presenting sponsor of the event, and Stewart’s prizes included a miniature version of the famed Monster Trophy that NASCAR winners received in Dover’s Sunoco Victory Lane. In his NASCAR career, Stewart racked up three wins, 11 top-5s and 17 top-10 finishes in 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the Monster Mile.
“I felt like the longer we went, we got a little better, especially the last 10 laps,” Stewart told SprintCarUnlimited.com. “When you come here in the middle of [Pennsylvania] Posse country against these guys and win, you are doing something.”
Dover International Speedway and BAPS Motor Speedway, a four-tenths of a mile, banked dirt track, announced a partnership agreement in April which includes joint promotional efforts throughout the year. Dover officials were on hand Sunday to promote the track’s upcoming race weekend. BAPS, formerly known as Susquehanna Speedway, features a variety of racing divisions, including Super Sportsman, Sprint Cars, Late Models and Street Stocks.
Larson led the race’s first two laps before experiencing a mechanical failure and placing 23rd. The BAPS event completed four straight days of Pennsylvania dirt racing for Larson, who finished third at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville on Aug. 23, sixth at Williams Grove in Mechanicsburg on Aug. 24 and second at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown on Aug. 25.
Larson will be among the contenders with NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile for another tripleheader weekend Oct. 5-7. The weekend includes the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Sunday, Oct. 7, the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race on Saturday, Oct. 6 and the “Crosley 125” NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Friday, Oct. 5.
On Oct. 7, BAPS Motor Speedway fans can take advantage of a special “Ride to the Race” ticket program to see the Monster Mile’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race. The $75 package includes one upper-level grandstand ticket, a souvenir program and bus transportation to and from the track. Kids 12 and under are just $20 each. Call Dover International Speedway business development representative Karen Ptak at (302) 883-6555.