The preliminary entry lists for this weekend's Truck and Nationwide openers were released today, and while the Nationwide field is strong, only 38 Trucks are tentatively scheduled to make the trip down to the beach (I want to take this chance to congratulate NASCAR.com for again changing their format, thus making it impossible to find the entry lists).
If I remember correctly, that is one more truck than a year ago, but looking at the teams entered for Friday night's opener, there are probably a good half-dozen potential start-and-parkers.
Combine that with the fact this race is at Daytona and on Friday the 13th, and we may be lucky to have 10 trucks around at the end, haha.
We knew the Truck Series was going to be in trouble entering 2009. It will be interesting to see if they can even draw 30 at California next week. And you can blame the economic downturn all you want, but car counts in Nationwide have been acceptable, and will likely continue that way.
NASCAR simply does not pay enough in purse money for what I, and many other people, believe is their most competitive series. They also don't do a good job of promoting the series and the excellent array of young and old talent participating.
SPEED deserves some blame on that front as well. I guess they are too busy appealing to the losers watching Pimp My Ride and Pinks to care about actual racing.
How else do explain the difficulty teams have in attracting sponsorship (for only a couple million dollars I might add) for a series with great racing, even when the economy is doing well?
If it weren't for Craftsman and the manufacturers, the Truck Series might have bitten the dust a long time ago. And in reality, only Toyota still is heavy into the Trucks from a manufacturer's standpoint.
Let's just hope the folks at Camping World can come in and revitalize this series. They haven't been around the sport for long, but have done a lot in terms of car and race sponsorships to get their name out there.
Sponsoring a series is a different beast, as they will have to do their best to match Craftsman's magnificent efforts to promote the men and machines of the Truck Series.
It would be a shame to see NASCAR's incompetence and utter lack of care let this great form of racing die.
Don't get me wrong, we may see some fields with only 25 trucks in 2009. But the top of the series is still extremely strong, with names such as Benson, Skinner, Crawford, Hornaday, etc. leading the charge.
And losing Jack Sprague and Ted Musgrave, while once great drivers in the series, may be addition by subtraction. Neither was too spectacular a year ago.
Coming tomorrow, my full 2009 Camping World Truck Series Preview....