CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Blog by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Race Chaser Online – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images North America photo – So, with NASCAR hinting at potential changes, a new television package looming and the announcement this afternoon that Bristol’s race weekend would move back to mid-April in 2015, I decided it’s high time I released my three-part Speed Zone blog on what I would do to the 2015 schedules in all three national series if I were Brian France for a day.
In full disclosure – I’ve had this topic ready for about three weeks, but in light of the Kevin Ward tragedy it didn’t seem right to release it until now. So here it is!
We’re going to start with the Camping World Truck Series for 2015 – what would I do, you ask? Let’s have a look.
Starting the season at Daytona is just right. There’s no other way to do it than to have your biggest race as the season kickoff – so that stays where it is. However, and you’ll see this reflected in my subsequent blogs tomorrow and Monday, I’ve moved the entirety of Speedweeks up a week, which places the Truck opener on February 13th, 2015. (Why? You’ll see when we get to the Cup Series on Monday – stay tuned!)
Following the season-opener at Daytona, I think it’s only right that the Truckers stay in the Sunshine State and actually get a second race in without waiting a month to do it. So, I took the season-ender at Homestead and moved it to the Saturday night after the Daytona truck race as a standalone event – give the Truckers a chance to shine on their own terms for once.
Then, try as I might to do it, I couldn’t find a way to shatter that long break following the opening stretch in Florida, so regrettably – I didn’t. The Trucks get a six week break from Homestead to their next race at Martinsville in April, a tandem event with the Cup series as is tradition.
Take another three weeks to breath, and then the Trucks are going to what I consider one of my most controversial changes to the 2015 schedule – Gresham Motorsports Park in Georgia in early May, while the Cup and Nationwide Series are at the mile-and-a-half in Atlanta (more on that later).
Then the fun part begins. If you saw my blog “Dear NASCAR, More Dirt!” last month, you’ll know I was adamant about increasing the number of dirt races on the Truck Series schedule. Give the Cup boys the asphalt on All-Star weekend and turn the Truckers loose on the Dirt Track at Charlotte on that Friday night. Then put them on the big track the Thursday of Coca-Cola 600 weekend to give the fans the pavement action as well. (Why Thursday? The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars traditionally run the Dirt Track on Friday night of 600 weekend.)
Following the Charlotte double, the Trucks head to Kansas at the end of May for their annual event there, bumped back a couple of weeks from 2014, and then head to Texas (with the IndyCars) and Gateway (standalone) for their next two events. In fact, the entire month of June is unchanged from 2014 with Kentucky Speedway falling on its traditional end-of-June Thursday night date as well.
We’re up to 10 races. Still following me?
Iowa Speedway retains its usual week-after-Daytona in July slot, and the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora returns to the Wednesday of Brickyard 400 week as well, keeping the entire summer stretch for the Trucks intact from this year. But I’m not done shaking things up.
Race 13 – the halfway point of my revamped Truck schedule – takes place the first weekend of August. Usually the Trucks would be with the Cup series at Pocono, no? Not in this case. Instead, refer to my dirt blog again and slap the Trucks on the half mile at Williams Grove for their third dirt track race of the season. (This also makes life fun by allowing full-time teams to keep their dirt setups on for an additional race before converting again.)
The rest of August goes on unchanged from 2014 – Races 14-16 at Michigan, the Wednesday night affair at Bristol and the Sunday afternoon Labor Day weekend date at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park retain their dates in the exact same weekends on the calendar.
Take a weekend off and then let the Truckers get dirty one more time with their final dirt show of the season, a standalone event at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, as race 17 while the Cuppers are prepping for the Chase kickoff a few days following (again, more on that later).
Then, a NASCAR tripleheader at Dover headlines the following weekend in mid-September, with Chicagoland and a shifted second, now stand-alone fall date at Texas (replacing the early fall Las Vegas race) filling the two subsequent weekends, which brings us through the first weekend in October.
Don’t worry, you’ll see where that stop in Sin City is going to.
The rest of October sees the final three weekends of the month at Talladega, Martinsville and a surprise visit to the short track at Irwindale in California for the Trucks, adding some spice to the latter stages of the season and a potential game changer to the championship fight.
That puts us at 23 races – we have two weekends left before Thanksgiving on the calendar and two more races.
The first full weekend in November falls to Phoenix, just as it did in 2014 and making the one-mile oval in the desert the series’ penultimate stop yet again. But we still have the small issue of the finale to deal with – I’ve already used the Trucks’ stop at Homestead.
Remember when I said you’d see where that Sin City weekend was going?
It’s time, Mr. Smith, for me to agree with you – one of the few times in my life I will ever admit to doing so. I’m giving Las Vegas’ second date the coveted season finale spot and moving Champions’ weekend to Sin City – the change will be seen in both the Nationwide and Cup schedules over my blogs the next two days.
Hold all three championship banquets the following week and send everyone home in time for Thanksgiving. And – egad! – I’ve managed to shorten the entire schedule by a week! (Or move the whole pie forward a week, take your pick as how you want to look at it.)
In quick review, I added races at Gresham, the Dirt Track at Charlotte, Williams Grove, Knoxville and Irwindale. I removed the Pocono and Loudon events. Losing two and adding five is a net gain of three races, so I increased the Truck schedule from 22 to 25 races, which is exactly what it was through the end of the 2011 season – come on, the Trucks deserve more races than they’ve been getting!
The shifts of the second Truck race at Texas, the Kansas date and the Homestead date were made to line up with my changes to the Nationwide and Cup schedules – they may not make complete sense to you readers right now, but that’s why you have to stay tuned!
NOTE: I made my schedule changes for all three series based on logistics, as well as the things I would like to see happen in each series for the future – with the Trucks, it was more short tracks and more dirt, the types of tracks that produce the beating and banging the series is known for!
You may not agree with my changes, but I’d love to hear from you readers and find out what you think! Leave a comment in the comments area and tell me what you like or what changes you would make to the 2015 schedule (but please, keep it family-friendly)!
Keep it off the wall until tomorrow, when we look at my changes to the Nationwide Series schedule in depth!
All opinions expressed in this article are the thoughts of the writer and do not reflect the work of NASCAR or any of its scheduling officials for the 2015 season.
REVISED 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule
|February 13th||NextEra Energy Resources 250||Daytona International Speedway||Daytona Beach, FL|
|February 21st||Ford 200||Homestead-Miami Speedway||Homestead, FL|
|April 11th||Kroger 250||Martinsville Speedway||Ridgeway, VA|
|May 8th||Camping World 200||Gresham Motorsports Park||Jefferson, GA|
|May 15th||N.C. Education Lottery Duel on the Dirt||The Dirt Track at Charlotte||Concord, NC|
|May 21st||N.C. Education Lottery 200||Charlotte Motor Speedway||Concord, NC|
|May 29th||SFP 250||Kansas Speedway||Kansas City, KS|
|June 5th||WinStar World Casino & Resort 400||Texas Motor Speedway||Fort Worth, TX|
|June 13th||Drivin’ for Lineman 200||Gateway Motorsports Park||Madison, IL|
|June 25th||UNOH 225||Kentucky Speedway||Sparta, KY|
|July 10th||American Ethanol 200||Iowa Speedway||Newton, IA|
|July 22nd||1-800-CARCASH Mudsummer Classic||Eldora Speedway||Rossburg, OH|
|August 1st||Camping World Clash at the Grove||Williams Grove Speedway||Mechanicsburg, PA|
|August 15th||Careers for Veterans 200||Michigan International Speedway||Brooklyn, MI|
|August 19th||UNOH 200||Bristol Motor Speedway||Bristol, TN|
|August 30th||Chevy Silverado 250||Canadian Tire Motorsports Park||Bowmanville, Ontario|
|September 12th||FVP National 150||Knoxville Raceway||Knoxville, IA|
|September 18th||Lucas Oil 200||Dover International Speedway||Dover, DE|
|September 25th||Lucas Oil 225||Chicagoland Speedway||Joliet, IL|
|October 3rd||WinStar World Casino & Resort 350||Texas Motor Speedway||Fort Worth, TX|
|October 17th||Fred’s 250||Talladega Superspeedway||Talladega, AL|
|October 24th||Kroger 200||Martinsville Speedway||Ridgeway, VA|
|October 30th||Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 200||Irwindale Speedway||Irwindale, CA|
|November 6th||ServiceMaster 200||Phoenix International Raceway||Avondale, AZ|
|November 13th||Camping World RV Sales 200||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||Las Vegas, NV|