Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SPEED's Iowa Truck Series Challenge

It's a little over sixteen hours and a tad over one thousand miles to reach Iowa Speedway from the Mooresville, NC area. This weekend, while the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are in New Hampshire, the Camping World Truck Series heads to Iowa.

We mentioned just last week that the truck series is now a ragtag bunch with only a handful of top teams and drivers. On Tuesday defending series champion Todd Bodine, pictured above, confirmed that his team will be unable to go to Iowa due to the lack of sponsorship.

Rookie Johanna Long has also withdrawn from the race to leave a current field of 31 trucks. It's a guessing game as to just how many of those entries are there to actually race. There are no Sprint Cup Series cross-over drivers this weekend, so the field will be headlined by several "regulars."

The loss of Bodine is rough. The Onion's bald head, bright smile and lollipop-sucking personality makes for a fun TV interview. His driving makes for some fun TV viewing. In the same way that personalities like Johnny Benson, Ted Musgrave and Rick Crawford have faded from the series, the loss of Bodine this weekend really hurts what many call "the show."

There have to be some "career men" mixed-in with the current minor leaguers like Austin Dillon and Cole Whitt who will certainly be moving up the ladder soon and leaving the trucks far behind. This weekend, only Ron Hornaday really fits that bill.

The other drivers are mostly in transition with some trying to return to the big leagues while others are just happy to be racing and getting a paycheck in these very tough times.

SPEED has the race live at 8PM ET on Saturday night. Krista Voda hosts the pre-race show at 7:30PM. Rick Allen and Phil Parsons will call the race with Hermie Sadler and Ray Dunlap on pit road. This week in Iowa, even the TV staff is smaller in number.

The great thing about the trucks on SPEED has been the simplicity. This weekend, it may be that new names take advantage of this stand-alone race and emerge with good performances. Having that opportunity on national TV in primetime on a Saturday night is not a bad thing.

The trucks will be racing 200 laps around the .875 track in Iowa. As many of us who watched the trucks develop over the years can attest, this size track is exactly what allows the series to shine.

The TV challenge for SPEED is to tell the story as it happens without NASCAR spin. If ten trucks start-and-park, then show it and say it. If no trucks park and everyone is racing the distance, point it out for the viewers.

When one door closes in racing another eventually opens. Even with Bodine gone and no Sprint Cup series drivers in the field, Iowa could be a race full of surprises and fresh opportunities for new faces.

We welcome your opinion on this topic. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below.


Roland said...

Big picture wise yes its a big deal that the Onion wont be there. That team has had sponsor troubles in the past too. Its funny how they run the #60 Sprint Cup car as a start and park to fund the #13 full time. Gieco only pays for half the races. Youd figure theyd do the same for Bodine but I guess not.

As a fan this is going to be an awesome race. A lot of the filler teams are gone. With Bodine & Busch out maybe now we can finally see a fresh face in victory lane. The truck series is stale. Well all of nascar is stale for that matter.

Anonymous said...

As Roland said, I really believe it is Germain Racing's own fault that they can't field Todd Bodine this weekend. This was a team that last year had one truck team and a new cup team and expanded this year to four(?) truck teams and one and a half cup teams? I said at the end of last year they would fail miserably as a result, it would seem that is true.

As for the truck race, the racing is usually good whether there are 10 trucks racing competitively or 20 trucks with a shot. If only we had more short tracks, that would help things a ton.

GinaV24 said...

Sorry about Bodine not being there for the Iowa race and sorry that I won't be home to watch on Saturday night. I like the fact that it is a standalone effort and so won't be cluttered up with Cup drivers, but I already have plans and my friends don't have cable.

James said...

Thank you for the opportunity to address what is sure to become the story of the second half of this season. For the last ten years NASCAR has focused on the "stars" of the sport, no longer do you see or hear about the racers at the back of the pack. The "field fillers" are there so NASCAR has a "full field", to comply with its TV contract obligation. It is cheaper to pay the start and park teams at the tail end of the field then pay the networks back for "short fields". This goes back to Big Bill owning his own cars for "visiting drivers" from other series to help generate fan interest. It was a practice that also gave new drivers a chance to enter races to "start" and show their talent to hopefully be offered a full time ride. Big Bill looked at this as an investment in his series to develop new and exciting stars of tomorrow.

The NEW NASCAR, has no interest in this practice, instead the view from above has taken a position that the individual teams are responsible to do it. Driver development is the responsibility of someone else, there is no profit in driver development. If it does not show a profit, find a way to make it the responsibility of someone else, WE have done enough, let THEM bare the cost. If WE can find a way to generate income through "special" fees, good for US. therefore you have, title sponsors like the Crown Royal issue. It is better to sponsor a race than sponsor a car for the entire year. Its OK to take a sponsor for a team and "keep" it in the sport as a title sponsor. NASCARS OFFICAL SPONSOR status! Lets design a "NEW CAR" WE can become the silent partner of all the suppliers and make their parts and pieces all OFFICIALLY APPROVED for use in competition and the use of unapproved parts will cost the teams not US, it a win win! WE can charge any fee WE can dream up! The bottom line is moving in the right direction now, NOT.

What NASCAR has done is force the teams to become so expensive and control every aspect of the equipment that the teams can not survive. They no longer receive any coverage during the race weekend and therefore can not sell sponsors on the theory that ALL teams get exposure for their products and services. NASCAR makes it impossible for the small teams to stay in the sport. They are made "fun" of, they are also the hardest working people trying to survive in a sport that seems to not want them. To have the CHAMPIONSHIP team not able to continue to field entries because of the lack of sponsorship explains the focus of NASCARS bottom line theory. The fact that it proves my point is fact! If they could only sell ten car races they would, because that is all we ever hear or see, the TOP TEN. If you are not running up front, you become a liability to NASCAR. WE are no longer here to SUPPORT you, we only SUPPORT OURSELVES.

AND the saddest part of all, is WE the fans, have allowed this to continue. We suffer the cost when we purchase tickets and products all inflated by the OFFICIALLY LICENSED FEES. While we wait in line, to watch another "show" we get the shaft once more, because WE have become the most loyal fans in sport. A fact not lost on the marketing arms of NASCAR, and WE ARE STARTING TO GET WOUND UP! I think this past weekend was "THE PERECT STORM", on one hand we have the PRE RACE hype, what a great event, spent a lot of time getting it, lot of money, "for the fans", they deserve it. POST RACE, we made a mistake, it was something we never anticipated, it will never happen again, AGAIN. $10 for a 16 oz bottle of water, it MUST have been OFFICIALLY LICENSED!!!

AS ALWAYS, thanks for a place to vent!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that Todd will not race this week.He's always an asset to any show. On the other hand it will be nice with no Waltrip silliness from the booth.

Roland said...

Saw on Jayski where Bodine will race in Iowa with possible sponsorship from International Trucks. No word on what team that will be for. Just a rumor at this point

OSBORNK said...

I think I am typical of many long time face fans. I live within 50 miles of the Bristol track. I have gone from buying race tickets to turning down free ones. The aggravation and expenses other than the ticket is not worth the quality of racing I see. I left the race during a rain delay once (thinking it would not restart) and was home in time to watch the finish on TV.

Roland said...

Confirmed. Todd Bodine in the 5 for the remainder of the season as Germain and Randy Moss Motorsports combine the 30 and 5 teams. Basically the 30 team puts a 5 on the door and will run the 30 team's trucks. Theyve combined their sponsorships to fill out the remaining schedule. Travis Kvapil out

Anonymous said...

In today's episode of As the NASCAR world turns, looks that a dealio has been put together to keep Toonces racing.

Looks as Germain is partnering with Randy Moss & he'll be in the #5 Pick 'em Up & Travis out of a ride.

So with that wonder if Yeley will still be in the #38 because he was suppose to since Travis was going to be in Iowa.

Visionary38 said...

Good news: Bodine has a ride. In the 5 truck.

William said...

I fear this will be used by NASCAR to change the points system again and allow cup ("Kyle bush") drivers to earn points in all series.

December 2010, somewhere in Florida: "don't worry Kyle, after the trucks go to Iowa everything will go back to the way it was"

Anonymous said...

James 11:28, good rant. Well said. Two thumbs up.

Dot said...

Finally what DW said "off the air" on the air last year is coming true.

I don't understand the lack of sponsorship. Companies now can get deals sponsoring cars/trucks that were unheard of a few years ago. Farmers Insurance (shameless plug) is one of the latest ones.

I'm glad Todd has a ride. I've always said, being a current/past champion in the Truck series can be hazardous to your career.

PhoenixHotZonie said...

James your comment is knowledgable, thorough and importantly "Spot On".I have been watching this sport since 1977.Your final paragraph "And the saddest part of all, is We the fans, have allowed this to continue..." states what is to be true today.

Overpromised and underdelivered.

I salute your statement sir!

James said...

Just to add to my earlier post, back a few years ago Benny Parsons knew the value of promoting the struggling teams ESPN made it a weekly spot to let the fans know who these folks where to help them build a fan base. This is not being done today! Every day we hear about the MEGA teams. They do not need the exposure like the litle teams do. Look at Regan Smith from a tiny town in upstate NY a former dirt modified guy, teamed up with Furniture Row from Denver Colorado, they won the Southern 500! Sure we heard about them for a couple of days, but did the race shows do a real story about them? The point I make is without the small teams, there is no more common man, the average guy who thinks he can do it, the Dale Earnhardts and Ricky Rudds, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that nepotism is the best way to get a ride. You are no longer going to get a cup ride and finish in the top ten the first time out. That is not possible today, but we all hope its possible! Trevor Baine sure had us rocking in Daytona. This past weekend NASCAR suffered its worst PR nightmare in years, at a time when a lot of people can barely make it to the track! Do you really think SMI woke up, looked out the window of the press booth, saw the cars backed up and said OMG?

I wish I had an answer, but I sit here and ask why are these questions not being asked on TV? Political correctness is NOT how NASCAR made its fans, HONEST. I know they have been making noise all week about this, but do they come right out and say what is on their minds? NO, they are afraid, the only guy voicing his opinion is Jimmy Spencer and it will be interesting to see how he is treated, thats just the way it is.
I guess I am just disapointed it is not Tony Stewert or JJ or Junior! Would that be something!

AS always thanks for the opportunity to vent and I appreciate the come backs.

Palmetto said...

Okay, I'll play Devil's Advocate. Has anyone confirmed that NASCAR is contractually required to start a 'full field' of 36 trucks or 43 cars? Supporting links would be appreciated.

Nastalk said...

I feel for Todd Bodine, Germain racing needs to do something about this or they could lose a good driver

Bob said...

NASCAR has publicly stated that they are NOT contractly obligated to have full fields. But they could just be playing word games and although not obligated they maybe have financial consequences.

I think the field filler issue is really easy to fix, make em finish the race, the payout should be prorated based on laps completed. Then we get the added benefit that all this work to bust their ass and get back out on the track after a wreck pays points and $$$. I'd love to hear a driver standing in front of his wrecked car saying...we're gonna get back out there because we want the $$$ (wanting points is lame) 40th place and completing 5laps would pay next to nothing, 40th place and 5 laps down pays $90k. Would be a whole new NASCAR. I liked when they were out there RUNNING the races, Start and Park is just gaming the's not a way to GROW a team, for a team that runs some/most of the races, i have no issue with an occasional S&P when no sponsor...but full time S&P teams are a blight on the sport and a payout change to run them out of the sport is in order. If the purse for running a low budget car isn't enough to pay the tire bill there's something wrong with the sport that needs to be fixed. I thought goodyear was in NASCAR for sponsorship value, not to make a fortune.

Mike (Detroit) said...

Yes heard this story in 2008 for Johnny Benson, and I miss seeing JB race sooo bad.

Diesel Performance Parts said...

"The TV challenge for SPEED is to tell the story as it happens without NASCAR spin. If ten trucks start-and-park, then show it and say it. If no trucks park and everyone is racing the distance, point it out for the viewers".


MortonGroveDon said...

This is just another step in the demise of the Truck Series. The drivers that kept the fand interested,Benson,Bodine, et al, have become disposable. The sponsors have moved on, either leaving the sport or chooosing to become bit players on the Cup just to be noticed.

The small tracks that made this series are memories, replaced by 1.5 milers and packaged aseither a Thursday or Friday race. Races like this weekend or the exception now.

This series had the potential to overshadow the Busch or Nationwide series. But the powers thatbe let it languish, taking away the uniqueness that saw it sell out small tracks. But Nascar, thinking too much is always a good thing, ruined it. Speed does a good job showing it and telling the story, but there isnt muchleft to tell.

Palmetto said...

Part of the problem is running the series on too many of the same tracks as Cup and N'wide. One thing that made the series fun to watch in the early days was a chance to see tracks one didn't see otherwise; Nazareth, Myrtle Beach, etc. I recall one season where they ran at least three road courses. Those aren't everyone's cup of tea, but at least they weren't another 1.5 miler. Also, visiting those less-frequented tracks gave NASCAR a live presence in areas the other series never reached, and that helps build fans. You don't put a Triple-A developmental baseball team in the same town with a major league club.

Oh, and good for Todd.

Less Talk More Sounds of the Engines said...

I like Adam's voice ..when the
format goes to NO TALKING BY THE
ANNOUNCERS - That is his best gig.