Bubba Wants Trucks?
With the inaugural Mudsummer Classic NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora Speedway already announced as a sellout, and with teams clamoring for a second dirt track event to justify the costs of specialized equipment, the search is on for where NASCAR could next promote the Truck Series on the red hills and clay.
While some fans would prefer NASCAR host just one dirt race — to avoid diluting the specialness of the event — a second race on dirt just makes a lot sense on a variety of levels.
The majority of NASCAR fans are largely disinterested with the oversaturation of intermediate speedways like Charlotte, Texas and Chicagoland. The Truck Series was built on grassroots venues like Saugus Speedway, I-70 Raceway and Indianapolis Raceway Park — and dirt tracks like Eldora fits the same mold.
An additional event on dirt just makes the most sense — it’s just a matter of finding a track that fits all of NASCAR’s safety and logistics protocols.
The Dirt Track at Charlotte
The most logical option is the Dirt Track at Charlotte, located just across the big Speedway in Concord. It doesn’t require much schedule wrangling either as Bruton Smith could just move his existing All-Star weekend Truck Series date across the street without affecting any other NASCAR event on the schedule.
And it’s no secret that Bruton will want a piece of NASCAR’s muddy new toy if Eldora proves to be a success.
Bubba Raceway Park
The second-best option is perhaps the most unorthodox — Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.
Formerly Ocala Speedway, the 3/8-mile clay oval has undergone a variety of changes since being purchased by radio personality “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem in 2011.
Clem temporarily closed the facility following his purchase and completely renovated the oldest speedway in Florida, installing fresh grandstands, a new Musco Lighting system, restrooms and a paved asphalt/concrete pit area, making it by far the most modern dirt track in the Deep South.
The Love Sponge believes he could host a NASCAR event and believes such a venture would be quite successful too.
“Bring them on,” Clem recently told Popular Speed. “We can not only handle them – we’ll teach them what real racing is.”
Clem is not always politically correct but his facility is first class and hosts every major dirt touring series in the country, speaking volumes about Bubba Raceway Park.
The Best of the Rest
Other options included Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA), Lebanon Valley Speedway (West Lebanon, NY), Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA) and Stockton 99 Speedway – Dirt (Stockton, CA). Popular Speed contacted each of the speedways to get their feedback and uncovered the following.
Williams Grove officials explained that their track could handle the demands of the NASCAR Truck Series but the facility and parking could not handle the logistics. Lernerville officials said that their track, with maximum speeds of 126-to-135 mph could handle the NASCAR Trucks but their grandstands could not accommodate the crowds.
Neither track expressed a desire to make the changes necessary to conform to NASCAR standards and will continue to host high-level dirt sanctioning series as the mainstay of their schedules.
Stockton 99 has a built in NASCAR relationship, hosting the K&N Pro Series West on the paved oval but track officials said that they would not be able to meet the insurance and financial requirements required by NASCAR for a National Touring Series event.
What other dirt tracks could host a NASCAR Truck Series event? Should the sanctioning body just stop with one? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.