Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Save The Trucks? Here's An Idea

The Camping World Truck Series has produced great racing nearly every year since it's inaugural season. Many enjoy the series because of the feel - it feels like a throwback to short track racing and to the way racing was in the 1980s. Veterans, young drivers, drivers just making a living doing what they love. Yet despite stronger TV ratings this year than in previous years, the Truck Series has a dearth of quality sponsors, a greater percentage of start and park efforts, and have rarely gotten a full field since the beginning of the year. Manufacturers have pulled their support from the series and left the advances to the teams. The saving grace, and what makes this series worth saving, is something that is essential to racing. The Truck Series has great racing! I've come up with an idea that I think will help the series maintain healthy interest - and in the process elevate the focus on both Sprint Cup and Nationwide at the same time.

Here is my idea for the Trucks: End the season at Richmond in September.

The Truck Series currently runs a 25-race schedule and it appears it will do the same next year. My idea to shorten the season comes from the idea that "minor leagues" in other sports end before the top series. The Truck Series is, after all, a minor-league series. In baseball, minors end in time for teams to call up its best players in September. Even in football, the college season ends around the same time as the NFL regular season does. The helps the NFL have sole focus on their playoffs by giving football fans their undivided attention. Hey NASCAR, wouldn't having one of your three national series finish before the Chase begins be an asset?

For a series that consists of 25 races, 10 less than Nationwide and 11 less than Sprint Cup (13 if you count the two non-points races) it doesn't make sense at this point to start the year in mid-February and end the year in mid-November. Keeping the schedule more compact will be less of a strain for all parties involved. By contracting the amount of time spent on each season, no longer will we have ridiculously long breaks between Truck races. Consider the beginning of the year: Daytona, California, week off, Atlanta, 3 weeks off, Martinsville, a month off, Kansas, and then another 3 weeks until Charlotte. In 4 months, the series runs a total of 6 races. Is there a certain reason why this is the way it is? I think it's a case of poor planning.

So by accepting this premise, let's look at the races after Richmond that will be cut out: Gateway (currently the same week as Richmond), Loudon, Las Vegas, Martinsville, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix, Homestead.

These races can be moved fairly easily and still fit into the schedule. Flip flop the combo races at Loudon so that the Trucks go there on the Sprint Cup Series' first visit, and the Nationwide Series takes the current spot. Same could even go for Talladega, Texas, and Phoenix. That leaves Las Vegas, Martinsville, and Homestead. From a fan perspective, these races can be moved to any point of the schedule and I'll still watch. I most other fans of the series will as well. Why not put a race at Martinsville on July 4th weekend? This would be shortly after the Memphis races, two short tracks in a row. Since the rumor is the series won't return to California (Auto Club Speedway) the Las Vegas date is open. That leaves a date at Homestead. I think if this idea were to gain traction, we could find an agreeable date.

That's my pitch to make the series more compact and just as interesting and fun to watch. Crown a champion in Richmond, see ya in February next year. Continuity is important and I think this move would deliver it big-time. Also, it helps NASCAR's top 2 national series at the same time, which is a win all around.

4 comments:

Judson Haas said...

Hey Matt, I agree with your ideas on the Craftsman Truck Series. It amazes me how exciting both the trucks and the Nationwide Series races have been more exciting for quite some time and yet aren't getting the coverage.

By the way, me and some buddies have started a new NASCAR blog.
Would you like to exchange links?

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