Logan Seavey impresses in NASCAR debut at Eldora

RJ Kraft

ROSSBURG, Ohio — Logan Seavey nearly had a debut for the ages in both NASCAR and the Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway.

Nearly two years removed from open heart surgery, Seavey made his first national series start in Wednesday’s Dirt Derby, making a one-off start for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the No. 51 Toyota. He led 53 laps around Eldora and held the point position as late as Lap 144 in the scheduled 150-lap race that ultimately went 153 laps in a NASCAR overtime finish. The Toyota Racing Development driver came home eighth in the race.

RELATED: Race results | Briscoe edges out Enfinger at Eldora

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“This was a really cool experience for me,” Seavey said. “Obviously, I’ve only done a couple stock car starts. Mostly just open-wheel stuff and to get in here and you know, run up front there in the first stage, compete for the lead and then kind of be able to maneuver my way through the field in the second stage and then lead 50 or so laps there on the third stage. It was really, really fun.”

Seavey took the lead at the start of the final stage — he had pitted after a second-place result in Stage 1 and stayed out after driving back up to third at the end of Stage 2. The 21-year-old looked to be in command of the race but a caution came out with 12 laps to go to bunch the field back up.

The ensuing final two restarts on older tires over the last eight laps weren‘t so kind to the California native. The Lap 146 restart pitted Seavey against the series’ 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year and eventual race-winner Chase Briscoe. Seavey, who is the 2017 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series champion, also runs a sprint car for Briscoe.

“I know Chase (Briscoe) really well and I know he likes to play a lot of games on restarts,” Seavey said. “He’s really good at it. I knew it was going to be tough and he kind of just got rolling a little bit better than I did and then I started spinning my tires.

“… I knew after that first restart — I thought it was okay and then the second one I kind of had to — just spun the tires. Those guys have a lot of practice on restarts even though it‘s on dirt. They’ve got a lot of practice and I really haven’t done this too much. I knew that was kind of my weakest link when I came in and I knew the field would be really tough and that’s what got me tonight.”

Briscoe was not at all surprised to be battling his friend for the victory, noting that Seavey has a bright future in NASCAR similar to that of dirt-to-stock-car drivers Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell. Both Larson (2016) and Bell (2015) are previous Eldora winners.

“I knew he was probably going to be one of the three guys to beat and he was doing a heck of a job,” Briscoe said. “That’s a name that NASCAR people are definitely going to have to get familiar (with). I think he’s probably the next big thing, honestly.”

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