By admin | June 11, 2009
By Richard Allen
The Camping World Truck Series offers up some of the best competition in all of NASCAR. Unfortunately, the series is almost surely approaching its end.
The truck races have become one of my favorite parts of the racing weekend. For the most part, the drivers are real racers who drive hard and love what they do. Most of these drivers are older guys who have found a home in this series after being rejected in the higher levels of the sport because they did not fit a mold desired by modern day owners and sponsors.
Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson, Todd Bodine, Dennis Setzer and Rick Crawford are among the gritty competitors who form the backbone of this series.
Regrettably, the reality of the times is in the process of setting in for this division of NASCAR racing. A bad economy is robbing the series of needed sponsors, manufacturers’ support and fan attendance.
On Thursday, General Motors announced it intends to scale back its support of both the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series.
This comes as one of a series of blows that threaten to knock the division of its feet.
In the most recent truck race in Texas, only 33 machines started the race. Of those 33, nine dropped out after 26 laps or less for reasons such as overheating, handling, too slow or ignition. So in reality, there were only 24 teams racing for the win. The series normally starts fields of 36 trucks.
The GM announcement makes fields like the one in Texas more likely for the rest of the season rather than less likely as new teams will not be looking to join the series. No one jumps onto a sinking ship.
NASCAR almost faced the embarrassing situation last year of not even being able to find a sponsor for the series. Sears pulled its Craftsman brand of tools out as the series standard bearer. It was not until a last minute deal was struck that Camping World came on to fill the void left by Sears’ departure.
Speculation at the time had it that the sanctioning body did not even come close to getting the amount of money they were looking for from a new partner, but it was all they could get.
The Camping World Truck Series provides some of the best racing in NASCAR. However, you better hurry if you want to see it. My guess is this series will not be around two or three years from now.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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