NASCAR trucks to run dirt event in 2013

NASCAR will run its first dirt-track race in a national series since 1970 next season as the Camping World Truck Series will race at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway.

The July 24 event is part of the truck series’ 22-race schedule announced by NASCAR on Wednesday. Stewart is hoping the unique event as well as its race date — the Wednesday before the Indianapolis Motor Speedway weekend — will create enthusiasm for the event.

“It’s just really a dream come true for us not only as a promoter … (but) to imagine that 42 years later we’re going to be taking a national NASCAR series back to a dirt track at Eldora Speedway is a huge honor for us," Stewart said.

2013 Camping World Truck Series schedule:

Feb. 22: Daytona
April 6: Martinsville
April 14: Rockingham
April 20: Kansas
May 17: Charlotte
May 31: Dover
June 7: Texas
June 27: Kentucky
July 13: Iowa
July 24: Eldora
Aug. 3: Pocono
Aug. 17: Michigan
Aug. 21: Bristol
Sept. 1: Ontario, Canada
Sept. 8: Iowa
Sept. 13: Chicagoland
Sept. 28: Las Vegas
Oct. 19: Talladega
Oct. 26: Martinsville
Nov. 1: Texas
Nov. 8: Phoenix
Nov. 15: Homestead

NASCAR on Wednesday announced the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule will feature two series firsts – a dirt race and an international event.

After months of rumors, the sanctioning body confirmed the Truck Series will make its dirt-racing debut at Tony Stewart’s half-mile Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and also will resume road-course competition in its inaugural international race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). The Sept. 1 event at CTMP marks the first road-course race for the Truck Series since 2000, and the fifth track to stage a Truck Series road-course event.

Below, SPEED on-air personalities Ray Dunlap and Phil Parsons offer their perspective on the schedule additions:

On the diversity of venues on the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule:

“We always talk about the ARCA Racing Series being the most diverse series in motor sports because it competes on dirt, superspeedways, road courses and intermediate tracks, but now the Camping World Truck Series will rival ARCA’s diversity with the addition of a dirt and road-course race. In one fell swoop, the 2013 schedule made the Truck Series much more varied than it’s ever been."

–Phil Parsons, SPEED analyst

On the significance of the Truck Series’ foray into dirt racing:

“Going to Eldora is monumental because it opens the door for different NASCAR divisions to consider some cool dirt venues across the country. Adding dirt races in the other series may not be a quick transition, but the Truck Series is laying the groundwork for the possibility."

–Ray Dunlap, SPEED reporter

“After the Cup Series stopped running on dirt in 1970, I would have virtually guaranteed we’d never see one of the major NASCAR series race on dirt again, so this addition is huge for the series and the sport. I’m sure a lot of forethought and work by NASCAR, Tony Stewart and his staff went into making this happen. Returning to Rockingham last year was so welcomed and so important, but Eldora could be one of the most anticipated races in a long time."

–Phil Parsons, SPEED analyst

On the “old-school racing" element competing on dirt could bring to the Truck Series:

“The Truck Series was built on the premise of beating-and-banging and side-by-side racing, and Eldora will foster that. Dirt-racing fans might be surprised by how close Truck Series competition can be at Eldora. This is reminiscent of decades ago. You’ve got to look back to the 1940s and ‘50s when there were lots of stock car races on dirt, so this is a big announcement that changes the outlook of where NASCAR could race in the future."

–Ray Dunlap, SPEED reporter

On the potential diversity of entrants for the Eldora race:

“There will be a slew of extremely qualified dirt racers who will figure out a way to muscle a ride for this event or simply build a truck just for this one race. While NASCAR announced a maximum of 30 trucks will start the race, we could see a huge entry list based on the interest of dirt racers all over the country."

–Ray Dunlap, SPEED reporter

On the significance of the Truck Series returning to road-course racing:

“The Truck Series returning to a road course could open the door to running at several different venues in North America. Several road courses potentially could be on the radar – Road Atlanta, Elkhart Lake, Mid-Ohio and others – and maybe even a return to Watkins Glen."

–Phil Parsons, SPEED analyst

SPEED once again is the exclusive television home for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2013, kicking off the season with live coverage of the Feb. 22 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. SPEED wraps up its 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series coverage with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series/Nationwide Series Awards Ceremony from Miami Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

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