Are Truck Racing

Daniel Brown
• Sunday, 15 November, 2020
• 11 min read

Although a non-contact sport, due to the physical size, and closeness of trucks to one another during races, minor collisions can often occur. The races were run on dirt and paved ovals mostly in the Eastern United States.

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The trucks used in the beginning were actually working trucks with tandem rear axles, using street tires, and yet speeds of 150 mph (241 km/h) were still attained on the front straight at Pocono Raceway, and the closed course record of 132 mph (212 km/h) was set in qualifying at Texas World Speedway by Charlie Baker on March 21, 1982. After 1986 when the series was bought by Glenn Donnelly of DIRT (Drivers Independent Race Tracks) the GATE trucks became highly modified with the bodies being cut and lowered, losing the tag axle and shedding more than 2,000 pounds in weight.

The sporting regulations came under the control of the Federation Internationale DE l'Automobile (FIA) later, to ensure that the vehicles conform to the layout and original style of the truck, whilst defining the safety standards required to race. The makes of truck currently represented in truck racing cover most of the common marques over the last 20 years.

This was also on the calendar of Federation Internationale DE l'Automobile (FIA) and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FM SCI). This event was held 23 March 2014 at Buddha International Circuit, Greater Noida.

The idea for the Truck Series dates back to 1991. A group of SCORE off-road racers (Dick Land field, Jimmy Smith, Jim Enable, and Frank “Scoop” Vessels) had concerns about desert racing's future, and decided to create a pavement truck racing series.

They visited NASCAR Western Operations Vice President Ken Clamp to promote the idea, who consulted Bill France Jr. with it, but the plans fell apart. Afterwards, Clamp told the four to build a truck before NASCAR considered it.

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Bakersfield fabricator Gary Collins built a prototype truck, which were first shown off during Speed weeks for the 1994 Daytona 500 and tested by truck owner Jim Smith around Daytona International Speedway. The truck proved to be popular among fans, and NASCAR arranged a meeting in a Burbank, California hotel on April 11, 1994; the meeting ultimately led to the creation of the Cybertruck Series “.

Four demonstration races were held at Mesa Marin Raceway, Portland Speedway, August Speedway and Tucson Raceway Park. Prominent Cup owners Richard Childless, Rick Hendrick, and Jack Rough owned truck teams, and top drivers such as Dale Earnhardt and Ernie Iran also fielded Cybertrucks for others.

The series also attracted the attention of drivers like sprint car racing star Sammy Wendell, Walker Evans of off-road racing fame, open-wheel veteran Mike Bliss, and Atlanta Falcons head coach Jerry Granville. The inaugural race, the Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway, was held on February 5; the race, featuring an event-record crowd of 38,000 spectators, concluded with eventual series champion Mike Skinner holding off Cup veteran Terry Lamont to win.

The Camping World Truck Series vehicle of three-time series champion Matt Creighton With decreasing money and increasing costs, the series has struggled financially with sponsorship and prize money, the latter often being low, while the former would prompt teams to shut down to reduce in size. Teams like Richard Childless Racing, a Cup team with 31 Truck wins, shut down their Truck operations; in RCR's case, after the 2013 season.

After the 2014 season, Brad Keselowski stated his Brad Keselowski Racing team had lost $1 million despite recording a win that year, and told the Sporting News : “The truck series, you have to be able to lose money on a constant basis. To cut costs, NASCAR required teams to use sealed engines, with teams not being allowed to run at most three races with a previously-used engine.

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Starting with the 2011 season, NASCAR implemented a new rule that allows drivers to compete for the drivers' championship in only one of the three national touring series (Cup, Xfinity, or Truck) in a given season. On January 19, 2016, NASCAR announced the introduction of a playoff format similar to the NASCAR Cup Series Chase for the Championship : the format consists of eight drivers across three rounds, with two drivers being eliminated after each round.

Camping World signed a seven-year extension in 2014 to remain the title sponsor of the Truck Series until at least 2022. On May 8, 2018, NASCAR and Camping World announced the Truck Series title sponsor would be moved to Camping World subsidiary Gander Outdoors starting in 2019, renaming it the “NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series”.

Most of the first drivers in the series were veteran short track drivers who had not made it or struggled to thrive in the other NASCAR national series; for example, 1991 Feather lite Southwest Tour champion Rick Carell had failed to qualify twelve times for Cup races across 1991–1994, with only nine career Cup starts, but he finished sixth in the inaugural Truck Series championship. It is worth noting that most of the early champions have become NASCAR Cup Series regulars later in their careers, such as 1995 champion Skinner, who joined Richard Childless Racing's Cup team in 1997, competing on a full-time basis until 2003.

Professional football coach Jerry Granville was among the series' first drivers. NASCAR stars Greg Baffle, Kevin Warwick, Jamie Murray, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, and Kyle Busch each started in the series.

An incident at a 2001 Truck Series race resulted in a major NASCAR rule change. In early November of that year, the Truck Series was running as a support race for CART's Marlboro 500, that series' final event of its season; since the race weekend was being staged by CART and not NASCAR, its rules had to be followed.

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As a result, the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was in effect and thus any driver who participated in the race weekend had to be at least 18 years of age. 99 truck driven by Kyle Busch, as he was underage at the time (16) and thus disqualified from the event despite having already qualified.

The issue resulted in a 2002 rule change that mandated that any driver competing in a NASCAR national touring series (Truck, Busch, Cup) or any regional series race on the weekend of a national series race must be at least 18 in order to comply with the Master Settlement Agreement. After NASCAR phased out tobacco sponsorships, the minimum age for regional touring series was changed to 16, and the Truck Series' rule regulated a minimum age of 16 for any circuit one mile or shorter (Rockingham Speedway included, despite it being 1.017 miles), and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

In later years, though, the Truck Series has also become a place for Cup veterans without a ride to make their living which included Ricky Craven, Jimmy Spencer, Dennis Setter, Brendan Vaughan (who started his career in a family-owned team, and after his Next Cup attempt, returned to the family operation), Rich Sickle, Andy Houston, Todd Iodine, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and previous champions Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner, Ron Workaday, Ted Mus grave, and Jack Prague. The series was dominated by older drivers, most with Xfinity and Cup Series experience: in 2007, all ten top-10 drivers were over 30 years of age, and 7 of the 10 had Cup experience, as did every race winner except Erik Darnell.

Even though novice drivers play a minimal role in this minor league series, there is no controversy like the disputes over Bushwhackers in the Busch (later Nationwide, now Xfinity Series). No current Cup regulars drive a full Truck Series schedule, although Cup driver Kevin Warwick owned his own team in the series until 2011, Brad Keselowski owned his own team until he announced its cessation of operations in 2017 and Kyle Busch currently fields his own team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, respectively, driving part-time for his team.

A current Truck Series field could be split into three groups: Cup drivers that compete as owner-drivers like Busch, or to receive additional money like David Gilliland ; Truck regulars who compete full-time in the series; and young drivers who use the Truck Series to enter NASCAR. Previously, 36 trucks comprised a field, but the number of entrants had been decreasing; in 2014, an average of 33 trucks were entered per race, the smallest field being 27 at Texas and the maximum being reached only eight times.

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The rule was popular with television and fans, and was spread for the entire schedule afterwards as pit reporters could interview drivers and crew chiefs for the break in a time without stress. However, starting in 1998, NASCAR introduced competition cautions, with each team being awarded four sets of tires; with this rule change, the halftime break was abolished starting with the race at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

In 1999, full pit stops were added, with drivers being allowed to pit during races, but were not allowed to change more than two tires during a stop. If tire wear was a concern, NASCAR also permitted two-tire changes if necessary in the first and third period breaks.

Some drivers used the rules to learn tire conservation for other series. During the 1997 season, trucks could only legally take fuel and make adjustments during pit stops during the race.

Tire changes were still illegal except for emergency causes and at break times. For a short time in 1995, NASCAR adopted traditional short-track rules by inverting a number of cars at the front of the grid after complaints about some races where drivers led the entire event.

Unless interrupted by weather, Craftsman Truck Series races had to end under green flag conditions, and the rule mandated that all races must end with a minimum of two consecutive laps in green flag condition, often referred to as a “green-white-checkered” finish. Since racing to the yellow flag was prohibited until 1998 (and again in 2003 under the current free pass rule), scoring reverted to the last completed lap, and until racing back to the line was legalized in 1998, if the yellow waved during the first lap of a green-white-checkered finish, the entire situation would be reset.

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Ironically, the first Truck Series race under the new rules ended with a yellow flag on the final lap. In 2014, NASCAR banned tandem drafting, a method of racing in which two vehicles would line up with each other to gain speed, from the Truck Series.

In the 2016 season, the Truck Series experimented with a “caution clock” rule, under which a caution would be thrown after every 20 minutes of green flag racing. No free pass was awarded for these cautions, and the 20-minute clock was reset upon all restarts.

The caution clock was not used during the final 20 laps (10 laps at Pocono or Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) of the race, nor was it used during the Elnora Dirt Derby due to its format. In 2017, it was replaced with the stage system adopted by all other NASCAR national series that season.

Initially, the Truck Series competed primarily on short tracks and tracks in the Western United States ; the series' inaugural schedule included races at tracks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, with only five races in the Southeastern U.S., such as Louisville Motor Speedway, which was not run by the Cup Series. By 1998, most of the short tracks were phased out in favor of speedways of 1 to 2 miles in length, and more of the races were held at tracks that hosted Cup and Busch events concurrently, but some races were held with Champ Car and Indy Racing League events.

Road courses were phased out by 2001, the last race being in 2000 at Watkins Glen International, but returned in 2013 with the Truck race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Also in 2013, the Truck Series began racing at Elnora Speedway, the first time NASCAR has raced at a dirt track since the 1970 NASCAR Grand National Series season.

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As of the 2015 season, the series races on 20 tracks: one dirt track (Elnora), one road course (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park), two short tracks (Bristol and Martinsville), two super speedways (Daytona and Balladeer) and 14 intermediate ovals. The most recent addition to the series schedule is Atlanta Motor Speedway, which returned to hosting Truck races in 2015 after a two-year absence.

The 1995 season's races were nationally televised on ESPN, TNN, ABC and CBS. Of the 20-race schedule, TNN aired ten races, while ESPN aired seven races and CBS two, while ABC aired the race at Mesa Marin Speedway as part of its Wide World of Sports program.

On August 13, 2013, Speed was converted into Fox Sports 1 (FS1), continuing with all Truck Series race broadcasts, whereas some practice and qualifying sessions were moved to sister channel Fox Sports 2 (FS2). For the 2018 season, the UNH 200 at Bristol aired in prime time on Fox.

The series was notable in seeing the return of Chrysler Corporation factory-supported race vehicles to the tracks. Chrysler withdrew its factory support of its Dodge and Plymouth brands after the 1972 season to cut costs, though teams continued to campaign cars with Plymouth and Dodge sheet metal and power plants until 1985.

Chrysler funded a small R&D effort, with factory funding and support for Dodge to return to NASCAR for the Craftsman Truck Series with the Dodge Ram Pickup truck in 1997. By 2001 Dodge made a full-time return to NASCAR with a full factory backed effort.

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While Dodge continued to race in the other series until 2012, the Ram Trucks division (spun off from Dodge after the Fiat Group took control of Chrysler) raced in the Camping World Truck Series in Dodge's place. As of the 2016 season, JC Racing, MB Motorsports, Mike Harmon Racing and Faith Motorsports are the only teams in the Truck Series to field Ram trucks.

“NASCAR: Race teams in trucks, Nationwide feeling financial pinch”. Truck Series Offers a Look into NASCAR's Future”.

^ “Richard Childless: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results (wins)”. “NASCAR Truck Series issues new rules to save money”.


^ “Gander Trucks playoff field expands to 10 drivers in 2020”. ^ “Camping World extends sponsorship for NASCAR truck series”.

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“NASCAR Truck Series will have a new (old) title sponsor next season”. ^ “NASCAR, Camping World expand partnership, provide Gander Outdoors entitlement”.

^ “West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame to induct 10 in July”. ^ “Remember When: Mike Skinner and the Truck Series Arrives”.

^ “Rule could put Busch's truck career on hold”. “Kevin Warwick plans to shut down his NASCAR Truck Series team”.

“Live Pit Stops Have Made NASCAR's Craftsman Series More Competitive. “AUTO RACING ; The Latest From NASCAR: A 20-Race Cybertruck Series”.

“Chase Elliott wrecks Ty Dillon to win truck race; Richard Childless furious”. “Richard Petty recalls NASCAR dirt race”.

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