ROSSBURG, Ohio (March 23, 2015) – Earl Baltes, the racing pioneer who founded Eldora Speedway in 1954, passed away early this morning. The 93-year-old visionary sold the iconic, half-mile dirt oval to Tony Stewart in November 2004 after making the track a premiere destination for racers and fans alike. The following is a statement from Stewart.

“Earl Baltes was the yardstick other track promoters measured themselves by. He constantly raised the bar, and he did it by creating events everyone else was afraid to promote. He did them himself, too. Not as a fair board, or a public company, or with major sponsors or millions of dollars in TV money. He put it all on the line with the support of his family. He and his wife, Berneice, created a happening at Eldora. They turned Eldora into more than just a racetrack. They made it a place to be. They were integral to the evolution of dirt-track racing and the sport as a whole. Earl will be missed, but he won’t ever be forgotten because of his devotion to auto racing.”