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Truck Series needs major overhaul

June 10th, 2014 7:07 pm by Jeff Birchfield

Truck Series needs major overhaul

Radical changes need to be made to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, particularly with the schedule.

There were just 27 trucks last Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, racing in front of the smallest crowd anyone could remember for that series at that track.

A closer look at the field reveals there are less than 20 competitive trucks and that only 17 drivers have participated in all six races so far this season.

The list of winners is two — Sprint Cup Series interloper Kyle Busch, with four wins, and points leader Matt Crafton, with two. Also understand that Busch did not race in the two events that Crafton won.

There has not been a full field of trucks since the second race of the season at Martinsville. There were less than full fields for seven of the series’ 22 races last season, and you have to go back to 2005 to find every race on the tour with full 36-truck fields.

This is the same series that used to produce arguably the best racing in NASCAR, with drivers like Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday Jr. duking it out on the short tracks.

Sprint Cup teams are no longer using the Trucks as a developmental series, and it’s left the series with several smaller teams to compete.

With most of your NASCAR teams based out of the Charlotte area, I believe the sport needs to look at the past before looking at the future. Instead of asking the teams to travel to Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Las Vegas and Canada for stops, the series should be brought back to a regional series.

I would have the schedule look something like the Nationwide Series (then Busch Series) of the late 1980s. While I would keep the season opener at Daytona on the schedule, the other farthest trip from Charlotte would be to Dover. While the trucks running on the dirt at Eldora is a popular stop, it would make more sense to schedule a race on the dirt track across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

There would still be the annual visit to Bristol, but the other races should take place in the Carolinas and Virginia. That way, most of the Truck races are one-day shows without all the added expense on the teams. You’re also getting back to the short tracks and the better action which fans crave. 

Over the next two months leading up to Bristol, the trucks visit St. Louis, Kentucky, Iowa, Eldora, Pocono and Michigan. After Bristol, the stretch is Canada, Chicago, New Hampshire and Las Vegas before Talladega.

It’s insane to keep putting those kinds of travel costs on these teams barely making it as it is. The payout at Texas was under $10,000 for eight of the 27 teams. Only the top four finishers made more than $20,000. At Kansas, only three teams surpassed $20,000 in prize money.

The financial numbers simply don’t add up and it’s time for NASCAR to take drastic action and severely alter the schedule for the benefit of the teams and the series.

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It’s a huge racing weekend on the local front with the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway going from Friday through Sunday.

Kingsport Speedway will also be in action, following an impressive showing by former Elizabethton resident Wade Day.

In his first time competing since winning at Kingsport two years ago, the two-time NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regional champion showed he hadn’t lost anything, holding off South Carolina driver Randy Porter to win a 75-lap feature for the Southeast Super Trucks Series.

Kingsport Speedway regular Lee Tissot finished third in the race.

Other winners on Friday were: Nick Cole in Street Stock, John Ketron in Pure 4 and Rusty Clendenin in Rookie Pure 4.

There is a six-division weekly racing program scheduled this Friday night with the Late Model Stock division the featured class.

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Volunteer Speedway has a 52-lap “Scott Sexton Memorial” Super Late Model race for the Southern All-Star Series scheduled for this Saturday.

Besides the Super Late Models, there are features schedued for the Steel-Head Late Model, Crate Late Model and Modified Hobby divisions.

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After a week off, the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series returns to the Appalachian Fairgrounds this Saturday night. The second annual Red Bull Tennessee National for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Muddy Creek Raceway is a little over two weeks away . The race, scheduled for a live broadcast on NBC Sports, is scheduled for June 28. Tickets for the event are still available on the Victory Sports website.

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