Every season (1995-2021), except a small stint between 2001-2012, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has had a road course on the schedule in some form or fashion. This season, the series has embraced road racing like never before. The 2021 Truck Series schedule has four road courses listed – Daytona Road Course, Circuit of The Americas (COTA), Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – the most of any season in series history.
The first road course the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ever competed at in a point-paying championship event was at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka Kansas on July 29, 1995. NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. won the race from the pole dominating the event leading 58 of the scheduled 60 laps.
In total the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has held 24 series points-paying races on six different road courses – Heartland Park Topeka, Watkins Glen International, Sonoma Raceway, Portland International Raceway, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and the Daytona Road Course – from 1995-Present. Prior to this season’s four, the most road courses the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has competed on in a single season is three – from 1996 to 1999.
The 24 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on road courses have produced 18 different winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. (1995: Heartland Park, Sonoma; 1996: Watkins Glen) and Joe Ruttman (1997: Heartland Park, Sonoma; 1998: Watkins Glen) with three road course wins each. Only two other drivers have multiple road course wins in the Truck Series – 2000 series champion Greg Biffle grabbed road course wins at Portland International Raceway (1999) and Watkins Glen (2000) and Canadian Ron Fellows collected two wins at Watkins Glen in 1997 and 1999.
Last season, the Camping World Truck Series took to the Daytona Road Course for the first time. It was an action-packed event that saw 10 lead changes, but ultimately it was the eventual series champion, Sheldon Creed, taking the checkered flag.
Among the drivers entered this weekend only three have previous wins on road courses in the series, Creed’s Daytona Road Course win last year and the other two were at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – John Hunter Nemechek (2016) and Brett Moffitt (2019).
Sheldon Creed returning to defend
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was the first NASCAR national series to take to the twists and turns of the Daytona Road Course last August when the famed circuit became a replacement race for the Watkins Glen race during COVID-19 schedule adjustments last season.
And the first winner on the replacement track was Sheldon Creed, who narrowly edged Brett Moffitt for his second win of the 2020 season en route to capturing the championship.
Both Creed and Moffitt will be back this weekend to compete in the BrakeBest Brake Pads 159 at Daytona Presented by O’Reilly. Creed is slated to start fifth, while Moffitt will start 21st.
In fact, the top six finishers from last season (additionally Raphael Lessard who finished third, Matt Crafton – fourth, Austin Hill – fifth, and Tyler Ankrum – sixth) will be returning to the road course as part of full-time Camping World Truck Series campaigns. In all, 20 drivers will return to compete in their second Camping World Truck Series road course race at Daytona.
In addition to the plethora of 2020 series regulars who return for their second shot at the Daytona Road Course, two drivers competed in the ARCA Menards Series at the track last year – Hailie Deegan and Sam Mayer. The pair put in impressive performances on the 3.61-mile road course, with Mayer finishing third and Deegan placing sixth.
Camping World Truck’s Sunoco Rookie of Year class update
And just like that, the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year class is off and running, as this season looks to be another great one.
Coming out of the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Chandler Smith leads the rookie standings by five points over Daytona’s Rookie of the Race Award winner Carson Hocevar, currently in second. Niece Motorsport’s Carson Hocevar received the award for being the highest finishing eligible rookie in the race with his fifth-place finish in the season-opener at Daytona, but Smith holds the rookie points lead by racking up more points through the stages than Hocevar.
Rookie finishes from Daytona last weekend – Hocevar (fifth), Smith (ninth), Kris Wright (12th), Hailie Deegan (24th), Chase Purdy (29th) and Tim Viens failed to make the race.
Looking ahead to this weekend, road course experience is limited with the 2021 rookie class.
Smith will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road course debut this weekend. But the KBM driver does have some experience on the Daytona Road Course, he made an ARCA Menard Series start at the track last season – he started first and finished ninth.
Hocevar made his first NASCAR national series road course start last season at the Daytona Road Course. He started 27th and finished 28th.
Young’s Motorsports Kris Wright will be making just his third career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend, and coincidentally he made his series debut last season at the Daytona Road Course. In his track debut he started 26th and finished 25th.
David Gilliland Racing’s Hailie Deegan will also be making her first road course start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. But it won’t be her first time competing on the Daytona Road Course, the California native made an ARCA Menards Series starts at the Daytona Road Course last season, where she started seventh and finished inside the top-10 (sixth).
GMS Racing’s Chase Purdy will be making his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road course start this weekend at the Daytona Road Course. Purdy doesn’t have any road course experience in the NASCAR national series ranks, but he did compete in at Watkins Glen International in the ARCA Menard Series East finishing 15th.
Tim Viens is still looking to get his rookie season started and this weekend’s event at the Daytona Road Course could be just the place. Viens has one road course starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, last season at the Daytona Road Course he started 38th and finished 24th.
|Sunoco Rookie of the Year|
Camping World announced $500k in cash and prizes for NCWTS
Prior to the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener on Friday, Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway, Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis announced bonus money and prizes provided by Camping World for the 2021 season.
The first winner was Ben Rhodes, who won the NextEra Energy 250 and was awarded a $25k driver bonus and $25k road crew bonus.
This is what the rest of the season looks like for cash and prizes from Camping World:
- The team leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship points standings after the Kansas Speedway race will receive a $50k road crew bonus.
- The team leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship points standings after the Knoxville Raceway race will receive a $75k road crew bonus.
At the end of the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season:
- Camping World will award the team (i.e., single entry) that leads the most laps during the season with a $50k driver bonus and a $25k road crew bonus.
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship driver will receive an electric pickup truck and a Lordstown electric (Class E) RV.
Camping World will also tap into a $100k fund for incremental bonuses or team needs throughout the season. Camping World requests that if a Truck Series team or driver needs help securing sponsorship or has interest in exploring B2B opportunities on behalf of a potential/renewing partner, to reach out to NASCAR (CampingWorldTrucks@nascar.com).
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Parker Chase joins KBM: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that Parker Chase will make two starts for the organization’s No. 51 Toyota in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Chase, 19, will make his debut at the Daytona Road Course on Friday. He will also compete in the May 22 event at COTA. Vertical Bridge will be the primary sponsor for the Daytona Road Course and Tige Boats will be on the hood of the Toyota at COTA. Chase, who competes fulltime in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, was a teammate of Kyle Busch on the AIM Vasser Sullivan No. 14 entry in the 2020 Rolex 24. Chase earned a top-10 finish in his ARCA Menards Series debut on the Daytona Road Course in 2020.
Jett Noland making debut for Niece Motorsports: Jett Noland and Niece Motorsports announced a partnership for a partial schedule in the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. He will make his debut at the Daytona Road Course on Friday. Noland was slated to run six events with Niece in 2020 but it was put on hold after COVID-19 hit. Noland will also run at Richmond, COTA, Bristol, Martinsville and Phoenix for the team. Noland participated in the Trans-Am Series last season and capture TA-2 Rookie of the Year honors. He also participated in the Southern Super Series and Super Late Model events.
Herbst back in a Truck: NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Riley Herbst will join David Gilliland Racing on Friday for the BrakeBest Brake Pads 159 at Daytona Presented by O’Reilly. He’ll pilot the No. 17 Ford with Lincoln Welders on board. Herbst has eight career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and captured a best finish of third at Talladega Superspeedway in 2019.
COURTESY NASCAR INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS