NASCAR’s Truck Series Drivers Prepare to Make History in Iowa

Getty John Hunter Nemechek (center) races at the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track.

For the first time in NASCAR history, one of its top three series will head to Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. The Camping World Truck Series drivers will compete at the half-mile dirt track on July 9 while making history in the process. This race, which will air on FS1, will mark the first time that a Truck Series race will take place at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World.”

According to NASCAR, Knoxville Raceway started out as a horse racing track in 1878. However, racecars began heading to the dirt track in the 1900s. The venue has continued to host exciting events featuring stock cars, super modifieds, and sprint cars. Though the 2021 season will feature the first time that trucks will make laps around the Iowa track while putting the NASCAR series on display for a different audience.

“It’s going to be quite significant,” track historian Bob Dunkin told NASCAR. “It’s going to be the first time [the trucks visit] and it’s going to be a different sort of race than our regular people are used to seeing. However, I think the stands will be filled with NASCAR people who are really interested in this.”

Dunkin added that preparing for a single sprint car race requires the use of 100,000-150,000 gallons of water. He explained that the goal is to have enough moisture to discolor the dirt but not enough to create standing puddles. Dunkin will have this goal for the Truck Series race, but he will not have to use nearly as much water due to the weight. The NASCAR vehicles are twice as heavy as sprint cars.

The Truck Series Race Will Feature Local Legends

Donny Schatz

GettyDonny Schatz competes at Eldora Speedway.

NASCAR has a history of letting drivers attempt to qualify for races where they have a unique advantage. IMSA drivers regularly compete in road course races while replacing those that perform better on oval tracks. The Truck Series trip to Knoxville will follow a similar path and feature two stars with multiple starts at the dirt track.

One example is Donny Schatz, a Knoxville star who will officially make his debut in a NASCAR national series. The 43-year-old competes in the World of Outlaws for Tony Stewart Racing and is a 10-time winner at the Knoxville Nationals. Now he will climb into an entirely different vehicle and try to defend his turf.

Similarly, Knoxville Raceway 410 Sprint Car champion Brian Brown will climb into a truck and try to showcase his skills at his hometown track. This race will serve as Brown’s stock car debut, and he has put in considerable effort to prepare for the event. He previously competed in the Camping World Superstar Racing Experience race at Knoxville on June 19, finishing eighth in the main feature.

The 2021 Season Featured Another High-Profile Dirt Race

Ben Rhodes

GettyBen Rhodes (center) races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The trip to Knoxville Raceway will feature the second time in the 2021 season that NASCAR has made history with a dirt race. All three top series previously headed to Bristol Motor Speedway in late March for the first-ever dirt races at the Tennessee short track.

The Truck Series drivers headed to the oval first, along with multiple Cup Series stars. Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Bubba Wallace, Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, and Chase Briscoe all competed to gain experience for their own race. Truex had the best outing, leading 105 of the 150 laps and capturing the checkered flag.

When the Truck Series heads to Knoxville, there won’t be any Cup Series drivers in attendance. They will be in Atlanta preparing for a crucial regular-season race. Instead, local drivers will suit up and compete in the first-ever Truck Series race at Knoxville Raceway.

The Corn Belt 150 presented by Premier Chevy Dealers will take place on Friday, July 9, at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa. FS1 will provide coverage for the 200-lap race, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET.

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