Chad Little, director of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, indicated Tuesday that a rules package for the tour's first dirt-track race at Eldora Speedway would be released soon. Fittingly, the timetable for the announcement will be close to the series' next race at Martinsville Speedway, another historic short track and perhaps a nod at what could become part of the series' identity.
Everything from race structure to tires to ride heights will have to be decided before July 24, when NASCAR will hold its first national series race on dirt since 1970. It's one of the more intriguing wrinkles for Little's first season on the job as series director.
"We are getting very close to finalizing all of the details for Eldora, from the procedural changes for that race to the rules package," Little said. "We've bounced around several ideas internally here and we're visiting with the teams. We'll probably finish our final visits at Martinsville, and then I expect that we'll have an announcement very shortly after that race."
Adding the half-mile dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio, to this truck year's schedule might be the start of a shift in emphasis to short-track races. NASCAR vice president of racing operations Steve O'Donnell said last fall that series officials visited Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a long-running half-mile asphalt track in South Carolina, as part of a feasibility study.
"You're always looking for new venues and evaluating the opportunities at any race track, but the short-track races are definitely important," Little said. "Getting back to the grass roots has always been very important for NASCAR."
In accordance with that directive, the truck series returns from a five-week hiatus April 6 at Martinsville, a .526-mile track steeped in racing heritage. It's another reason for Little, who took over the job of truck series director last December, and the series' drivers to be eager to get back to work.
"Most of (the drivers) come from the short-track circles and it's most near and dear to their heart," Little said, "so that's another reason we're excited about it."
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