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The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (formerly the NASCAR SuperTruck Series presented by Craftsman and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) is a pickup truck racing series owned and operated by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. It is the only series in all of NASCAR to race modified production pickup trucks and is one of the three national divisions of NASCAR, together with the Nationwide Series and the top level Sprint Cup. On December 3, 2007, Sears Holdings Corporation announced that, at the conclusion of the 2008 season, its Craftsman brand would no longer sponsor the series.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Craftsman had been the title sponsor since 1995, the year NASCAR founded the series.

History

The idea for the Truck Series dates back to 1993. A group of SCORE off-road racers (Dick Landfield, Jimmy Smith, Jim Venable, and Frank "Scoop" Vessels) wanted a bigger audience for truck racing.<ref name=roadandtrack>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> They made a prototype for a NASCAR-style pickup truck.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> These were first shown off during the 1994 Daytona 500, and four demonstration races were held during the season. The first event at Mesa Marin Raceway had six trucks.<ref name=roadandtrack /> The other three events were held at Portland Speedway, Saugus Speedway, and Tucson Raceway Park.<ref name=roadandtrack /> Tucson Raceway Park held four events that winter, which were nationally televised during the Winter Heat Series coverage.<ref name=roadandtrack /> These trucks proved to be extremely popular, and it led to NASCAR creating the series, originally known as the "SuperTruck Series", in 1995.

While a new series, it garnered immediate support from many prominent Winston Cup Series team owners and drivers. Prominent Cup owners Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, and Jack Roush owned truck teams, and top drivers such as Dale Earnhardt and Ernie Irvan also fielded SuperTrucks for others. The series became known as the Craftsman Truck Series in 1996.

Initially, the series used a number of rules that differed from both Winston Cup and Busch Grand National Series racing. Most of the first races were no longer than 125 miles in length, with many being 150 lap races on short tracks. To save teams money by not requiring teams to hire pit specialists and buy extra tires, and because some tracks -- Saugus Speedway, Flemington Raceway, Tucson Raceway Park, Evergreen Speedway and Colorado National Speedway most notably—did not have a pit road safe enough for pit stops, or had pits outside the track, starting with the second race of the series in Tucson, AZ, NASCAR adopted a ten-minute "halftime" break, in place of pit stops, where teams could make any changes they would want to the truck. The only time tire changes were possible were for the interest of safety, such as a tire failure, or a danger to the tire. The rule was popular with television and fans, and was spread for the entire schedule afterwards as pit reporters could interview drivers and crew chiefs for the break in a time without stress.

For a short time in 1995, NASCAR adopted traditional short-track rules by inverting a number of cars at the front of the grid after complaints about some races where drivers led the entire event. That was dropped quickly after some races ended as walkovers for drivers, leading entire races.

In 1996, some races went to two intermissions for full tire and fuel stops, while longer races were stopped at three times—a limited break near the one-quarter and three-quarter marks for fuel stops, and at the halfway point for fuel and tire stops. If tire wear was a concern, NASCAR also permitted two tire changes if necessary in the first and third period breaks.

These rules were influential in driver development. Drivers had to learn to conserve tire wear for up to a half race, which allowed them to learn conserving the truck. Some drivers used the rules to learn tire conservation for other series.

In 1997, NASCAR started phasing pit stops. During the 1997 season, trucks could only legally take fuel and make adjustments during pit stops during the race. Tire changes were still illegal except for emergency causes and at break times.

By 1998, most of the short tracks were phased out in favor of speedways of 1 to 2 miles in length, and more of the races were held at tracks that hosted Cup and Busch events concurrently, but some races were held with Champ Car and Indy Racing League events. In mid-1998, at Fountain, CO, NASCAR switched to limited pit stops resembling other series where only two tires could be changed during caution periods. The rule was later removed and teams could change four tires, although there is a limit of how many sets a team could have during the entire race weekend, usually four sets per weekend. (In 2005, NASCAR adopted a similar rule in the Busch Series, with six sets per weekend.) Road courses were phased out by 2001.

A more popular rule that was effective until the middle of the 2004 season was the "overtime" rule. Unless interrupted by weather, Craftsman Truck Series races had to end under green flag conditions, and the rule mandated that all races must end with a minimum of two consecutive laps in green flag condition, often referred to as a "green-white-checkered" finish. Since racing to the yellow flag was prohibited until 1998 (and again in 2003 under the current free pass rule), scoring reverted to the last completed lap, and until racing back to the line was legalized in 1998, if the yellow waved during the first lap of a green-white-checkered finish, the entire situation would be reset.

This rule meant some races would be greatly extended. In 1998, a CBS-televised race in Fountain, CO scheduled for 186 laps ran 198 laps (12 extra laps) because of multiple attempts, and the last such race, in Madison, IL, in 2004, lasted 14 additional laps (16.25 miles).

A July 24, 2004 rule change for NASCAR's three national series meant only one "green-white-checkered" finish can be attempted, and the race can end under yellow in one of four situations—inclement weather, darkness, the yellow flag waving because of an incident during the final lap of a race, or the yellow flag waving after the one attempt at "green-white-checkered" begins.

Ironically, the first Truck Series race under the new rules ended with a yellow flag on the final lap.

Most of the first drivers in the series were veteran short track drivers who hadn't made it into the other NASCAR national series. It is worth noting that most of the early champions have become Sprint Cup Series regulars later in their careers. As the years went on, a number of younger drivers debuted in the series, using the series as a springboard for their racing careers. Current NASCAR stars Scott Riggs, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, and Kyle Busch each started in the series. Kyle Busch was 16 when thrown out of a 2001 Craftsman Truck Series race in Fontana, CA by CART (which sanctioned the Marlboro 500 that weekend) because tobacco sponsorship regulations prohibited competitors under 18 in any race during the meet, and resulted in a 2002 NASCAR minimum age requirement of 18.

In later years, though, the Truck series has also become a place for Cup veterans without a ride to make their living which currently includes Ricky Craven, Jimmy Spencer, Dennis Setzer, Brendan Gaughan (who started his career in a family-owned team, and after his Nextel Cup attempt, returned to the family operation), Rich Bickle, Andy Houston, Todd Bodine, Bobby Hamilton, Jr. and previous champions Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday, Ted Musgrave, and Jack Sprague. The series is currently dominated by older drivers, most with Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series experience: in 2007, all ten Top 10 drivers were over 30 years of age, and 7 of the 10 had Cup experience, as did every race winner with the exception of Erik Darnell. Even though novice drivers play a minimal role in this "minor league" series, there is no controversy like the ongoing disputes over "Buschwhackers" in the Nationwide Series. There are no current Cup regulars who drive a full Truck series schedule, although Kevin Harvick is an active truck owner and frequently drives one of his own trucks, and Kyle Busch often competes in the series.

Most races today will last around 250 miles at larger tracks, 150 to 200 miles at most others, and 200-250 laps around the shortest tracks.

At the end of the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule, Craftsman stopped sponsoring the series and Camping World replaced them. To cut costs, NASCAR reduced the maximum number of pit crew members allowed over the wall for a pit stop from seven to five, and required teams to only take either fuel or tires on a single pit stop.

The Series was also notable in seeing the return of Chrysler to the tracks. Chrysler withdrew its Dodge and Plymouth brands after the 1972 year to cut costs. Chrysler allowed Dodge to return to NASCAR for the Craftsman Truck Series with the Dodge Ram pickup truck. Although Plymouth would be phased out altogether by 2001, Dodge did make a full-time return to NASCAR that year. While Dodge continues to race in the other series, the Ram Trucks division (spun off from Dodge after the Fiat Group took control of Chrysler) now races in the Camping World Truck Series in Dodge's place.

Television

Most of the first races were nationally televised on ESPN, TNN, WTBS, ABC, and CBS. A number of races were held at tracks that hosted only NASCAR regional events.

In 2001, NASCAR moved the series exclusively to cable, first with ESPN, and in 2003, switched to Speed Channel. Network television returned to the series in 2007 when Fox (who shares the same corporate ownership as Speed) aired 2 races as a part of NASCAR on Fox, Kroger 250 at Martinsville, and the City of Mansfield 250 at Mansfield. In 2008, Fontana replaced Mansfield as the 2nd Fox race. Speed has become the exclusive home of the Truck Series again beginning in 2010.

Specifications

  • Engine Displacement: 358in³ (5.8L) Pushrod V8
  • Transmission: 4 Speed Manual
  • Weight: 3400 pounds. Minimum without driver, with fuel
  • Power Output: 650-700hp (485-522kw)
  • Fuel: 98 octane unleaded gasoline standardized by Sunoco
  • Fuel Capacity: 18 U.S. Gallons
  • Fuel Delivery: Carburetion
  • Compression Ratio: 12:1
  • Aspiration: Naturally aspirated
  • Carburetor size: 390 Cubic Feet per Minute (184 Liters per Second) 4 Barrel
  • Wheelbase: 112in (2.8m)
  • Steering: Power, recirculating ball
  • Tires: Goodyear slick tires
  • Length: 5286 mm
  • Height: 51 inches
  • Width: 73 inches
  • Safety equipment: HANS device, Seat belt 6-point supplied by Willans

Manufacturer representation

Chrysler LLC
Ford
GM
Toyota
  • Toyota Tundra: 2004-present (as of 2009, only factory maufacturer)

Past champions

Craftsman Truck Series

Rookie of the Year winners

Craftsman Truck Series

Seasons

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series :2010 | 2009
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series : 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

External links

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