Thursday, January 15, 2009
NASCAR's Dirty Little Secret: Few Trucks For SPEED
All three of NASCAR's national touring series are having the same tough economic time as the rest of the nation. Sponsors are gone and funding is tight as Speedweek in Daytona is less than forty days away.
While several websites, including Jayski.com, have a profile of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams that plan to race in 2009, the picture for the Camping World Truck Series is not so clear.
TDP has been following the TV telecasts of the truck series for the past two seasons. The team at SPEED has consistently presented some of the most compelling live racing coverage ever seen in the sport.
As has been documented many times, SPEED comes into the races with far less equipment and focuses on the action on the track with a small but dedicated team of TV pros. The results are simply fun to watch.
Now, the reality of the challenges facing NASCAR where the trucks are concerned for 2009 has been documented in a mainstream media publication. Scene Daily staff writer Jared Turner penned a short commentary addressing the truck series issue in a very straightforward manner. Here is an excerpt:
Let’s start with a theory that is actually more like a fact: For a racing series to be optimally competitive, it must first have enough competitors. Sounds simple enough, right?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple fix to the waning participation haunting the newly named NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Barely a month away from the start of the 15th season for NASCAR’s No. 3 series, you can count the number of Truck drivers with confirmed full-time rides on two hands. And the number of drivers with a confirmed full-time primary sponsor is even fewer.
So what does this dearth-of-sponsorship-induced madness mean for the series that has traditionally produced some of NASCAR’s most colorful characters and electrifying competition?
It means that while there will certainly be more than seven or eight trucks on the grid for the series opener at Daytona on Feb. 12, don’t expect there to anywhere near a full 36-truck field at the majority of the 25 scheduled races.
You can read the entire article by clicking here.
Turner finally stepped forward and introduced a topic that should get a response from NASCAR rather quickly. While fans have a pretty good idea about the overall health of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, the condition of the patient where the trucks are concerned is being kept very quiet.
SPEED has invested a lot of time and effort where the Camping World Truck Series is concerned. That is the only NASCAR series carried from start-to-finish on the network. SPEED is both a blessing and a curse to NASCAR.
The blessing is the weekend dedication to the sport when SPEED carries the pre and post-race programming for the Sprint Cup weekends. Over the past several years, SPEED has also carved-out a niche as the home of well-produced qualifying and practice coverage for all three national touring series.
The curse is that SPEED is distributed on digital cable TV packages that cost more and the network is also right in the middle of a transition to High Definition. Many NASCAR fans don't have SPEED and those that do want it in HD.
NASCAR has been very quiet on the pending problems with the trucks and Turner's commentary is a good launching pad for tackling the reality of this issue. Whether or not there is a point at which the truck series may actually suspend operations for 2009 is yet to be seen.
After racing in Daytona, the truck teams will turn and make the very long run to the California Speedway for a race the very next weekend. That may be the first true indication of just how healthy the series will be for NASCAR, truck series fans and SPEED.
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