SBD/January 5, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Camping World Truck Series Entering '11 Season On Solid Ground

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series enters '11 "on much more solid ground than in recent history" after struggling for several reasons, including the rough economy and a "dwindling team count," according to Pete Pistone of CBSSPORTS.com. Despite "predictions of short fields by many," last year's 25-race Truck Series schedule "came up short only a handful of times from filling out the allotted 36 starting spots." The series also "enjoyed solid growth" last year in TV ratings. While Sprint Cup audiences "have slipped in recent years, truck series ratings on Speed and Fox have climbed with the 2010 season finishing three percent higher than a year ago." While the competition level of the Truck Series has "remained high" through the years, the series "went through a series of ups and downs that had as much to do with the financial world as anything." When new trucks "weren't flying off the showroom floor, manufacturers were forced to throttle back their support of the series." That led to some organizations "having to shut down in the wake of those manufacturers' resource dollars drying up, followed by a secondary blow of a dwindling list of corporate sponsors able to use the series as a marketing tool." Camping World took over series naming rights in '09, and while it "hasn't been an easy marriage by any means, company officials are pleased with the results and appear poised to stay with the sport over the long haul." With title sponsorship "solidly in place, NASCAR hopes to continue the building process on the ownership front which has seen high-profile names" like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress create teams in recent years. Pistone wrote the "key to future success remains tied to the financial picture that will allow more sponsors to return, additional manufacturer support, including the return of Ford's involvement, and further funding to keep established teams afloat as well as allowing new organizations to enter the division" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/3).
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