In 2013 the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series held its initial race at Eldora Speedway making it the first time one of the sanctioning body’s top-three divisions competed on a dirt surface in decades. Since then, that series had continued to make yearly stops at the Tony Stewart-owned facility located in Rossburg, OH until the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced the race intended for this summer to be cancelled. And now, it looks as if the time in which the trucks will race on one of the country’s most historic dirt tracks has come to an end, at least for the immediate future.
But leaving one historic dirt venue opens the door for another.
On Wednesday, Eldora Speedway released a statement to its ticket holders explaining that the track would not be included on the 2021 NASCAR Trucks schedule. The full series slate is expected to be officially released sometime next week.
— Richard Allen/InsideDirtRacing.com (@RichardAllenIDR) November 19, 2020
The already released NASCAR Cup Series schedule features a race in which the concrete surface of Bristol Motor Speedway will be covered with clay. A leaked 2021 schedule indicates that the Tennessee track and Speedway Motorsports will not go to the expense and trouble of covering a high-banked half-mile track with dirt to only run one race. A NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race seems a certainty and one would guess that the NASCAR Xfinity Series may also join that lineup in late March.
Speculation has held that Eldora could be one of the host venues for the new Superstar Racing Experience(SRX), which is set to debut next year. That would make sense considering that Stewart is part of that venture along with former NASCAR crew chief and team owner Ray Evernham. If that indeed proves to be the case, it could be that either Stewart, NASCAR, or both believed it best for scheduling purposes or otherwise not to have both tours slated for that track.
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And now, the move away from Eldora gained some degree of clarity, as Jordan Bianchi of TheAthletic.com reports, Knoxville Raceway will become a new host for the series. The Iowa track is noted for staging the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned Knoxville Late Model Nationals. And perhaps more known to many fans of dirt racing, the track plays host to the Knoxville Nationals sanctioned by the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum also sits on the grounds of the Knoxville Raceway.
News: The NASCAR Truck Series will race at Knoxville Raceway in 2021, according to a copy of the 22-race schedule obtained by @TheAthleticAUTO. Other new tracks on the schedule include a dirt race at Bristol, COTA, Nashville Superspeedway, and Watkins Glen.
— Jordan Bianchi (@Jordan_Bianchi) November 19, 2020
For sometime, it has been discussed by followers of the sport that NASCAR should add at least one more dirt race to the schedule for the Truck Series for the simple reason that the teams would get more use out of machines that were specifically built for that surface but were only used once each season. Even though Eldora will be dropped from the series schedule, the two dirt tracks of Bristol and Knoxville will be added for a net gain of one.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association
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