Tuesday's ESPN.com report that NASCAR is considering bringing the Camping World Truck Series to Eldora Speedway in 2013 has brought into question whether or not the trucks can even compete on Eldora’s half-mile, high-banked clay surface.
The ARCA Racing Series competes at many of the same venues as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but it also competes on a pair of dirt tracks – at Springfield Raceway and the DuQuoin Fairgrounds Speedway.
The ARCA race car is merely a modified classic Sprint Cup Series chassis, leading many to believe the Truck Series’ transition from asphalt to dirt will not be as expensive or complicated as some are speculating.
Frank Kimmel, the nine-time ARCA Series champion, is one such believer.
Kimmel won the only dirt race of the season at Springfield and is ARCA’s career wins leader on dirt. He disagreed with the notion it would be expensive for a Truck Series owner to prepare an entry for Eldora and said ARCA teams use the same cars on dirt they previously used on paved ovals.
“We use our short track car on the dirt tracks,” Kimmel told SB Nation. “It’s not expensive at all. The only adjustments we have to make during the transition is changing the springs and shocks and paying extra attention to our cooling system.”
Bill Venturini is one of the most successful owners in ARCA history and agreed with everything Kimmel said. He added his team used to prepare dirt-only cars as recently as 10 years ago, but that advances in technical innovation and rule changes have allowed his team to also use its short track cars on dirt.
Venturini told SB Nation the Truck Series could easily race on a track like Kansas this weekend and turn around the following week and race the same cars on the dirt at Eldora.
The only concern Venturini has lies in the surface of Eldora, which has more dirt clumps than both Springfield and DuQuoin. Eldora also has numerous bumps and divots, which a dirt Late Model car can easily navigate but is likely to flip the heavier Truck Series frame.
“A dry, slick dirt track just won’t work,” Venturini said. “With a late model, you can get crossed up (spinning-out loose) and still fight the car around the corners. That’s not the case with these heavier stock cars.
“But Tony Stewart knows how to groom a dirt track and I have no doubt that he could prepare the track to meet NASCAR’s standards. It’s a fantastic little facility and would provide a lot of action. Frankly, the Truck Series needs a track like Eldora.”