From the crossville Chronicle – Crossville, TN Wed. Oct. 29,2008
By Joe Dunn / email@example.com
A big sigh of relief fell across Nascar and the Truck Series teams last week as it was announced that Camping World has agreed to sponsor the series starting in 2009 and continue for seven years.
In 1995 Nascar added a third series to their top tier of racing called the Super Truck Series. This was the first major racing series in America featuring full size pick up trucks. The new series began with a lot of help and support of many of Nascar’s top teams as Jack Roush, Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress entered teams in this new series. Those owners were joined by drivers Dale Earnhardt, Geoff Bodine and Ernie Irvan who also fielded teams.
In 1996 Craftsman Tools joined as the series sponsor and the name changed to the Nascar Craftsman Truck series. The series went through several rules and format changes over the first ten years and now falls in line with most of the same rules as the other two series. The truck series has served as a training and proving grounds for numerous young drivers looking for a future in big time racing. Some of today’s top names in Nascar got their start in the CTS. Names like Scott Riggs, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and the Busch brothers.
The CTS became the proving grounds for some of Nascar’s new rules, as the green/white/checker finish was established and proven viable in the truck series before moving up to the other two. The 18 year old age rule was forced on the truck series before it was a Nascar rule, when the series joined the CART series in 2001 at Fontana California as a companion race to the Marlboro 500. Kyle Busch, who was 16 at the time was thrown out because tobacco sponsorship rules prohibited competitors under 18 during the program. That situation led Nascar to establish the 18 year old minimum age in 2002, which parked young Busch until Memorial Day weekend in 2003.
On December 3, 2007 it was announced that 2008 would be the final year of sponsorship of the series by Craftsman. As the 2008 season progressed rumors of who would emerge as the ‘New’ sponsor covered nearly every major sponsor already involved with Nascar. But as the season wore on, those names dwindled as one big corporate name after another announced that they were not interested. Talks of Nascar having to reduce and again further reduce the price tag filled the racing pages across the country leading to doubts about the series future. Adding to the woes of the series Dodge announced last month that they will no longer support any teams in the series in 2009, and a week ago, Ford announced that it will be pulling it’s financial support for the truck series at the end of this year.
Just last week, some of the sports top writers and even competitors were predicting the end of the series at the end of the 2008 season. This major announcement means that one of the most exciting series in Nascar is alive and well and looks to continue for at least another seven years. Hopefully with news of this new sponsor, Dodge and Ford will rethink their bailing out of the series. I for one hope that they reverse their decisions. As someone having been involved in racing since 1964, I find the Truck Series to be some the best and most exciting racing Nascar has to offer.