How to Save the Camping World Truck Series

How to Save the Camping World Truck Series

by June 18, 2014 5 comments

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/NASCAR via Getty Images

This season is a season of several firsts for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

For starters, this year brought about a change in the design of the trucks as Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota would debut their ‘next-gen’ full-size truck bodies on their Camping World Truck Series entries. For some fans, the new truck body styles were too boxy – for others, they were a nice throwback to the CWTS’s ‘classic’ era of the 1990s.

Next, for the first time in a decade, a single manufacturer has won the first seven races of the season. Toyota Tundras have rolled into victory lane in each race thus far this season, the last time a manufacturer swept the first seven races of the year was in 2001 when Dodge Rams took the first eight races of the season.

Meanwhile, on the not so positive side – this season is the first time a NCWTS race has featured a grid as few as 27 trucks since the debut season of the series in 1995. This season’s WinStar World Casino 400k at the Texas Motor Speedway featured an entry list of 27 trucks. Looking back at the history of the series, only six races have had fewer entries than this year’s Texas race – all of them being in 1995. As the series grew in popularity, 1996’s smallest grid would consist of 28 trucks with that year bringing many more full grids for the series than its debut season as well.

This past Saturday provided another first of sorts that may provide the solution to the question on how to restore the Camping World Truck Series’ grids back to full capacity.

For the first time in four years, the series returned to the Gateway Motorsports Park – a 1.25-mile oval right on the Illinois-Missouri border. The return to a shorter previous track on the circuit made me realize that this might be the way to go to increase the number of competitors entering for each event.

If you take a look at the current series calendar, many intermediate ovals and superspeedways find themselves on the 22-race schedule; tracks such as Pocono Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Kentucky Speedway. With more and more young drivers entering the series, I feel that the Camping World Truck Series should evolve more into a national short-track series. Now, that doesn’t mean that there should be zero races on 1.5-mile-and-up courses, however, the primary purpose of the series would be to transition K&N Pro Series and ARCA Racing Series drivers to more powerful race cars on familiar circuits for the up-and-comers.

On my dream schedule for the series, gone are Pocono, Michigan, Talladega, Chicagoland, Las Vegas, and Kentucky and in their place are races at Toledo Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway, The Milwaukee Mile, Richmond, and another race at Phoenix – I also moved the Kansas race to the fall. To save costs on international travel, the lone road course event of the year was moved from the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario to Road America in Wisconsin.

The emphasis on short tracks not only aids the youngsters of the sport in their progression as racing drivers, but it would save teams money as well. With a vast amount of tracks on the current schedule being the longer speedways, teams need to build a variety of trucks to suit the different types of race tracks they visit. With my proposed schedule, there would be less of a need to build speedway and superspeedway trucks as only a third of the season would be run on ovals greater than a mile long. With the primary focus of the series being short tracks, teams can focus more of their resources on their short track programs with the amount of money saved on their speedway and superspeedway programs if they choose to do so.

With smaller tracks also comes smaller entry fees for the teams. For teams who are just getting by in the series who may have been skipping races this year, races with a lesser amount of fees to pay will be more appealing to enter than tracks with a gargantuan amount of fees such as Talladega.

In its current state, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is on rocky ground. With less and less teams running the full calendar due to financial issues, NASCAR must take a look at how to cut costs in their third-tier series in order to encourage more entries. What I proposed is one potential way to remedy the issue, will NASCAR decide to do something along the lines of what I proposed? Who knows? One thing’s for certain though, something must be done.

My “Revised” 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule

  1. Daytona International Speedway – 2.5-mile superspeedway.
  2. Phoenix International Raceway – 1-mile speedway.
  3. Martinsville Speedway – .526-mile short track.
  4. Toledo Speedway – .5-mile short track.
  5. Charlotte Motor Speedway – 1.5-mile speedway.
  6. Dover International Speedway – 1-mile speedway.
  7. Gateway Motorsports Park – 1.25-mile speedway.
  8. Road America – 4-mile road course.
  9. Iowa Speedway – .875-mile short track.
  10. Eldora Speedway – .5-mile clay track.
  11. Lucas Oil Raceway – .686-mile short track.
  12. Milwaukee Mile – 1-mile speedway.
  13. Bristol Motor Speedway – .5-mile short track.
  14. Atlanta Motor Speedway – 1.5-mile speedway.
  15. Richmond International Raceway – .75-mile short track.
  16. New Hampshire Motor Speedway – 1.058-mile speedway.
  17. Kansas Speedway – 1.5-mile speedway.
  18. Martinsville Speedway – .526-mile short track.
  19. Texas Motor Speedway – 1.5-mile speedway.
  20. Phoenix International Raceway – 1-mile speedway.
  21. Homestead-Miami Speedway – 1.5-mile speedway.

Bold/Italics = New additions.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

5 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. matt33fl
    #1 matt33fl 19 June, 2014, 08:30

    Yes, there are too many intermediates on the schedule, but the biggest problem facing the Truck Series is the miniscule amounts of purse money currently being paid out. Whether it be Camping World or NASCAR itself, someone needs to step up……anyway, here is my schedule proposal for 2015:

    Feb 20—-Daytona Int’l Speedway*
    Mar 06—-Las Vegas Motor Speedway*
    Mar 14—-Kern County Raceway Park
    Apr 04—-Darlington Raceway
    Apr 12—-Martinsville Speedway
    Apr 26—-Gateway Motorsports Park*
    May 03—Virginia Int’l Raceway
    May 15—Iowa Speedway*
    May 22—Charlotte Motor Speedway*
    May 30—Milwaukee Mile@
    Jun 12—-Kansas Speedway*
    Jun 27—-Nashville Speedway
    Jul 09—–Eldora Speedway*
    Jul 30—–Kentucky Speedway*
    Aug 08—Pocono Raceway
    Aug 15—Lucas Oil Raceway*
    Aug 27—Bristol Motor Speedway*
    Sep 04—Auto Club Speedway*@
    Sep 12—Dover Int’l Speedway
    Sep 26—Knoxville Raceway*
    Oct 03—-New Hampshire Motor Speedway
    Oct 17—-Martinsville Speedway
    Oct 31—-Talladega Superspeedway
    Nov 06—Texas Motor Speedway*
    Nov 13—Phoenix Int’l Raceway*
    Nov 20—Homestead-Miami Speedway*

    * = night race
    @=companion event w/IndyCar

    Reply this comment
  2. Tom
    #2 Tom 19 June, 2014, 08:32

    Entry fee is same at all truck races. Number of tires allowed at $2000 per set is same. The back half of the field operates on prize money alone and that has not kept pace in the trucks. The small teams depend on hand-me-down trucks and parts and that is drying up for what ever reason. The bigger the track the better the truck must be both aero and mechanically and on strictly winnings the little teams can not afford to go. They can piece together junk and go to short tracks where a study of the results will show they have no chance, but they are there and hoping to get enough notice to where something will change. If small team owners and drivers were alcoholics they could go some where and get cured but racers have no such facilities for their addiction.

    Reply this comment
    • Robert Eastman
      Robert Eastman 19 June, 2014, 09:46

      Tom. LOL Your last sentence is So Funny and So True! On a positive note, I do think that Racers have more fun than drunks but I really don’t know because I’ve never had a drink… probably due to the fact that I got addicted to racing by the age of 12 and after that could never afford booze.

      Reply this comment
  3. Nick
    #3 Nick 19 June, 2014, 11:11

    You make lots of good points in this article. This schedule would also alleviate the “Kyle Busch” effect by running more stand alone races. Nationwide and Trucks lost their fun when it became Busch-light. I watched as many truck and Nationwide (Busch) races in the early 2000s as I could. I don’t have a problem skipping them now. I made sure to tune in to Gateway though.

    Reply this comment
  4. Don
    #4 Don 19 June, 2014, 15:02

    Nationwide MUST go away! PERIOD! Why on earth do we need two classes that look the same…attendance even shows that.
    The trucks make the perfect support class….Keep the SPRINT CUP guys OUT!
    Without Nationwide cars this will free up the best drivers and teams, it will also free up a lot of sponser money. I never watch a nationwide race and I always try to catch the truck races, they’re different and they drive the wheels off.

    REALLY SIMPLE….I’m sure the France Kingdom will agree…lol

    Reply this comment

Leave a Comment