The Camping World Truck Series is in bad shape. Only 12 drivers managed to make a full-time run in 2014. Almost half the races were won by Kyle Busch, who doesn’t compete full-time in the series. It’s two most exciting prospects, Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace, will be moving to the Nationwide Series come 2015. Only seven of the 2014 Truck Series races had full fields. So what’s going wrong?
1. Rising costs
Even though Nascar’s third series doesn’t pay out a whole lot of dough, the costs to run trucks have been increasing year after year. Tire bills go up. Salaries go up. Engine bills go up. And purses, for the most part, have stayed the same. Most teams that compete in the Truck Series lose money. Even Brad Keselowski, whose #29 truck finished 3rd in the owners championship, lost $1 million racing in the 2014 series and has been forced to scale back his operations for the coming year. With the costs high and winnings low, Nascar has had trouble filling its fields in the series–a majority of the races were under-capacity, and even the popular dirt track race at Eldora only managed to find 35 competitors. Without more money in the sport, expect to see the garage fill up even less in the coming years.
2. Lack of interest
Beset by boring racing and a lack of competition, the Camping World Truck Series has seen attendance and TV ratings steadily decline. 20 years after the trucks first began racing, the novelty of the sport has worn off and boredom has started to set in. Nascar’s race at Eldora saw strong ratings and exciting action, but the other races, most at cookie-cutter 1.5 milers, have not shared in Eldora’s success.
Falling interest is producing another problem–sponsorship. Many teams in the series have struggled to line up well-funded sponsors. After all, what company wants to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to back a team getting little to no attention? Even veteran Ron Hornaday was unable to line up full sponsorship last year. While in the middle of a late-season championship battle, his Turner Scott Motorsports team abruptly folded after it ran out of cash, leaving Hornaday on the sidelines.
3. Same tracks
When the Truck Series first began, back in 1995, most of its races were at Nascar’s short tracks. The trucks raced around Gateway, Rockingham, and Wilkesboro, not Kansas and Texas. These races created more beating and banging, and gave many fans a reason to go to the race. They got to see something new. Today, most Truck Series races are at the same track as the Sprint Cup events, making many fans wonder “Why bother going?” For many, there’s no point going to see a Truck race on Friday when a bigger and better Sprint Cup race will happen at the same track on Sunday. Unless Nascar switches up the Camping World tracks, expect to see attendance for the truck series continue to decline.