Truck Series Leaves California: A Sign of Things to Come

Lee FraserCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2009

FONTANA, CA - FEBRUARY 22: The pace car leads the field, under caution for rain through turn three and past the track dryers during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway on February 22, 2009 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, the schedules for all three of NASCAR's top series were released.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule saw some very big changes.

Dates shuffling was the biggest change.

The race at Gateway was moved to run as a companion race to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, and there were a couple more moves in the schedule.

There was one replacement, though.

For the first time ever, there will be another NASCAR event at the Pocono Raceway.

On July 31, 2010, the Camping World Truck Series will roll into the Pocono Raceway for the first time ever.

This race will replace the February race at what is now known as the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

All three series have visited the speedway since the track's opening in 1997, and the three series have not missed a year since then. Attendance is falling in Fontana, though.

This year, NASCAR did something different when they ran the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series both on Saturday, as a double-header event.

Attendance went up for the Nationwide Series race but generally stayed the same for the Truck race.

So NASCAR has moved the truck series from California.

Could this be a sign of things to come?

The Los Angeles area of California has never shown a huge fan base for NASCAR racing.

The Ontario Motor Speedway took NASCAR by storm starting in 1971.

A.J. Foyt won the two opening events at the track that was known as "The Indianapolis of the West!"

Fans were flocking to the speedway, but like Fontana, by 1976, attendance started to fall. By 1980, NASCAR had run their final race at Ontario Motor Speedway.

The Riverside International Raceway was different. It was a road course. It was probably the best road course that had ever been on the NASCAR circuit.

From 1963 to 1988, NASCAR made a stop at the western road course every year.

Like in Ontario, attendance started to fall here, and by 1990, Riverside International Raceway, was a shopping mall.

From 1989-1996, NASCAR did not visit the LA area, until this place opened in 1997. It was a "cookie cutter" track, but with the high speeds and a better facility, NASCAR thought the fans would come out and show support.

They did, but not for long.

Now, in our 12th season at the Speedway, we've seen three race date changes, and an added date.

Since the date was added, attendance has been falling for both races.

As we've seen in the truck series, if attendance continues to fall, NASCAR may do the same thing in the other series, move the date to the East Coast; if fans don't show up, that's exactly what's going to happen.


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