A NASCAR national touring series race will be held on a dirt track for the first time in 43 years next season.
NASCAR released its 2013 Camping World Truck Series schedule on Wednesday. The 22-race schedule will include Eldora Speedway, a half-mile dirt track located in Rossburg, Ohio. The track, which is owned by three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, will be the first dirt race in the Truck Series' 19- year history. Scheduled for July 24, Eldora will be the first of two Wednesday night event for the series next season, joining Bristol Motor Speedway, which is slated for Aug. 21.
"We've had talks about getting the trucks on dirt in the past," NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations Steve O'Donnell said. "The door-to-door racing that our Truck Series is known for plus Eldora's popularity and Tony's dedication to putting on great shows for the fans is a perfect fit."
The last time a NASCAR national touring series event was contested on a dirt surface occurred in Sept. 1970 when the Cup Series raced at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C.
Initial talks between Eldora race promoter and general manager Roger Slack and NASCAR officials in mid-September led to a two-day test session in October. Stewart and Austin Dillon, the 2011 Truck Series champion and 2012 Nationwide Series rookie of the year, tested identically-prepared Chevrolet Silverados at the track.
"It has been one of the hardest things to not talk about I think in my entire professional racing career," Stewart said. "To have had the opportunity to go and do a test earlier this year with the trucks was just really a dream come true for us as a facility.
"I've always joked around and people say, 'What would you do if you could change the schedule?' I always joke around about saying, 'I would add a dirt race'."
The length of the truck race at Eldora has yet to be determined.
Next year's truck schedule will also include a first-time trip to Canada. The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, a 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course in Bowmanville, Ont., will host its inaugural truck race on Sept. 1. It will become the first road-course track for the series since 2000, and it ensures a NASCAR national touring series presence in Canada for the seventh consecutive season. Nationwide competed at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal from 2007-12.
"It's very important that we maintain our national series presence in Canada," O'Donnell noted. "We've accomplished that goal while also bringing a world- class venue like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on board. The Canadian fan base is so passionate and has a high regard for NASCAR. We're excited to increase our role with our great partners at Canadian Tire while also introducing the truck series to our fans in Canada."
Next year's truck schedule begins on Feb. 22 at Daytona International Speedway and concludes on Nov. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2013 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE
Feb. 22 Daytona International Speedway
April 6 Martinsville Speedway
April 14 Rockingham Speedway
April 20 Kansas Speedway
May 17 Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 31 Dover International Speedway
June 7 Texas Motor Speedway
June 27 Kentucky Speedway
July 13 Iowa Speedway
July 24 Eldora Speedway
Aug. 3 Pocono Raceway
Aug. 17 Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 21 Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 1 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Sept. 8 Iowa Speedway
Sept. 13 Chicagoland Speedway
Sept. 28 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Oct. 19 Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 26 Martinsville Speedway
Nov. 1 Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 8 Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 15 Homestead-Miami Speedway