The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made history on Wednesday night, racing for the first time, ever, in the Mudsummer Classic at the Tony Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. It was also the first race on dirt for any national level of NASCAR since 1970.
I don’t think there’s ever been so much excitement surrounding a Truck Series event. I mean, when have you ever heard that tickets were sold to folks in 48 states within the US, including Alaska, and in five countries — for a Camping World Truck Series race. I don’t even think the circuit’s first race back in 1995 drew that much attention.
And by emphasizing that this was for a Truck Series race, I’m not slighting the trucks at all. At a lot of tracks, the trucks seemed to put on the best show across all three of NASCAR’s national series. I’m just not used to seeing the series get this level of attention.
Wednesday night’s race at Eldora was a rousing success — for the track, for the Camping World Truck Series and for NASCAR, as a whole.
Does that mean that NASCAR’s other national level series — Sprint Cup and Nationwide — should consider some dirt tracking? I’m not so sure about that. Despite the success of Wednesday’s truck race on dirt and the excitement of Sprint Cup regular Clint Bowyer during SPEED’s telecast of the event, I’m thinking maybe this is something that should belong to the Truck Series and Truck Series alone, as far as national-level NASCAR racing is concerned. And maybe, even the Camping World Truck Series, should just limit itself to one dirt race a year.
I’m all for the trucks returning to Eldora next year and for many years to come. The uniqueness of an Eldora race has the potential to turn into the cirucit’s marquee event. That would sure set the series apart from its two siblings, wouldn’t it? The Sprint Cup and Nationwide competitors can look ahead to Daytona all they want; give the truck guys and girls Eldora.
The questions of whether or not the trucks should return to Eldora, whether more dirt races should be added, and whether or not the other two national circuits should look to dirt aside, it was nice to see the Camping World Truck Series in such a large spotlight. It’s a series that sometimes seems to be forgotten as third in the NASCAR line between Sprint Cup and Nationwide. Last night’s race seemed to draw attention that was at least close to comparable to the Cup level’s first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway back in 1994. And, again, this was a truck race.
By the way, Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis will be the milestone 20th edition of that event, but has one of the most-hyped races on the Sprint Cup schedule been overshadowed by a Camping World Truck Series race? This season, maybe so.
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