Rossburg,OH — Considered to be the P.T. Barnum of auto racing, Earl Baltes always had the uncanny knack of intriguing not only race teams but the fans alike at Eldora Speedway, with his motivating promotions. Whether it be unheard of prize money to win for the teams, marrying of apes on the stage or wheelbarrow races for the fans, Baltes always kept people guessing what his next promotional gimmick would be.
That continued from 1954 until his retirement from racing in 2004, when he sold the fabled Eldora speed plant to two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.
Stewart, ever cognizant and appreciative of Baltes’ efforts, announced earlier this year the formation of The Baltes Classic; a Sunday, August 31, event to forever honor and remember the accomplishments and efforts of Earl Baltes and his wife, Berneice. Aesthetic Finishes of Piqua instantly jumped on board as the event sponsor.
At the time of the announcement, Stewart revealed a life-size bronzed statue of the most respected husband-wife team in auto racing. Now permanently on display at the entrance to Eldora’s grandstand area, the statue allows Earl and Berneice to greet everyone as they take in an Eldora event.
“What better way to acknowledge Earl and Berneice’s efforts than to reward the fans?”, quipped Stewart. “Earl has always gifted the race teams with the best money there is in racing, but the fans have been the life blood and backbone of Eldora, so we want The Baltes Classic to be a tribute to the founders and the fans.”
As such, a minimum of $50,000 in cash and product will be distributed to the fans that night. In addition to $15,000 in cash, race fans in attendance will instantly become eligible for product and gift certificates from The Home Depot, NIKE, MAC Tools, Armor All, Old Spice, Sunoco, Advance Auto Parts and Play Station. The prize winning numbers will be announced throughout the night.
The August 31 racing menu will feature the Sunoco sponsored American Late Model Series (ALMS), Moser UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) Modifieds and Advance Auto Parts Stock cars, in a holiday weekend tripleheader. The ALMS runners, using the event as their final tune-up for the following week’s World 100, will be treated as well. Their prize money has been upped from the standard $2,000 winner’s share, to $3,000.
“Earl and Berneice Baltes have done so much for racing, for so many years, that no one will ever forget them”, continued Stewart. “The sport is much better because of them, and we all cherish this opportunity to be with them, enjoying themselves as they are surrounded by the many fans that they have come to know and befriend over the years.”
Gates for The Baltes Classic presented by Aestethic Finishers swing open at 3:00, with the first racing event at 7:30 PM.