Camping World to sponsor truck series?

UPDATE #4 We hear that Camping World is paying just $2.5M per year to be title sponsor of the Truck Series. That is how bad off (desperate) the Truck Series is.

10/23/08 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

10/23/08 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. Camping World is expected to be announced as the replacement for Craftsman as title sponsor for the NASCAR Truck Series later today.

NASCAR has scheduled a teleconference with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France and Camping World Chairman and CEO Marcos Lemonis for this afternoon.

The subject of the teleconference was not released. But a Camping World spokesman said Wednesday that the company was still negotiating for the series sponsorship and hoping “to have good news very soon."

09/26/08 NASCAR is close to a multiyear agreement with Camping World to sponsor its Truck series beginning next season, the Observer and have learned.

Some details remain to be worked out before the deal is completed, multiple sources said Thursday.

Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's vice president of race operations, said the selection process remained ongoing, but that Camping World was "one of a few" companies still under serious consideration.

Camping World would take over for Craftsman, which has sponsored the Truck series since its inception in 1995 but announced it would end its sponsorship after this season. NASCAR officials have worked feverishly in recent months to nail down a new sponsor before the start of next season.

Financial terms of the deal were not known, but Camping World's move may come with an extra cost.

While the company, which specializes in selling parts and service for recreational vehicles and supplies for camping, would receive more exposure with a series sponsorship, it appears the deal could curtail some of its other NASCAR involvement, sources said Thursday.

The most likely target of cutbacks would be its current sponsorship of the Truck series team fielded by Kevin Harvick Inc. for reigning series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., sources said. ThatsRacin

[Editor's Note: If Camping World is simply shifting its sponsorship from a team to the series, NASCAR has gained nothing. In fact it loses because the lost sponsorship may deep-six yet another truck team and further hasten the series' demise.]

08/16/08 Saying his company has enjoyed its first year as an official NASCAR sponsor, Camping World Director of Motorsports Kurt Hunt says that it wouldn’t be “outside the realm of possibility" that his company would replace Craftsman as sponsor of NASCAR’s truck series beginning in 2009.

Camping World is in its first year of sponsoring the NASCAR East and NASCAR West series.

The 25-race truck series schedule consists of 22 tracks, with 15 races as companion events to the Sprint Cup Series and 10 races where it is either the headline event or is run in conjunction with the Nationwide Series or the Indy Racing League.

“It has been a great experience," Hunt said in a phone interview about Camping World’s involvement in NASCAR. “[The truck series] is something we have looked at. … Companion races are great [and] there are some markets where it is the top show in a market where we have a large concentration of fans and customers."

Craftsman is the only sponsor the series has had but announced last December it would not return as the series sponsor after 2008.

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