Now that was a great NASCAR race last weekend! The racing wasn’t bad at New Hampshire, either. The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 was good, but if you missed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa, then you missed the best race of NASCAR’s three national touring series.
I almost missed it too. I tend to be what my buddy Patrick Reynolds calls a “Cup snob” because of all the top series drivers that stink up the track in the Nationwide and the Truck Series. Frankly, I only really decided to tune because of the track. Iowa always delivers.
True to form, the product didn’t disappoint. While the racing was good, I discovered much more upon further examination of the Coca- Cola 200.
You know what the NCWTS is in terms of the participants? It is what the Nationwide Series is advertised to be. Young talents such as Austin Dillon, Joey Coulter, Brian Ickler, and James Beuscher are getting a chance to hone their craft banging doors with the prodigious likes of Ron Hornaday and Todd Bodine.
Speaking of the competitors, there’s the diversity NASCAR is looking for. Nelson Piquet Jr., Miguel Paludo and Max Papis add a foreign flair, while my favorite driver of the fairer sex- Johanna Long- is also frequently seen on track.
There’s passing, there’s paybacks, there’s just a kind of “home track” Saturday night feel to this series that is missing from Cup. Of course, it didn’t hurt the “Big Boys” were halfway across the country preparing for Sunday. Which brings me to another thought.
It’s high time this series go back to stand alone dates at places cup will never go. We’re talking a return of the series to places Cup can’t and won’t go. Picture dates in the Northwest, how about a stop or two in California, surely there has to be dates in other parts of the country where this series can stand on its own, without having to lean on the Cup guys. The racing’s good without them- Matt Crafton and Austin Dillon put on a fan’s dream of a show in equipment from the top names in motorsports, but it was the guys behind the wheel getting the job done.
This series has an identity if its own, and not only because the vehicles are different. This is where the NCWTS has it all over the NNS, which to this fan, is only watchable when the likes of Edwards, Harvick and Busch are off doing something else.
Sure, there are truck races that are less than scintillating. Every sport has those days. On the other hand, you’d better believe that as long as Horns, The Onion, and the lesser known but no less combative David Starr are out there, something’s going to happen.
The fans who turned out at Iowa had fun, even if they never heard of Matt Crafton. If you’ve got the serious racing “Jones,” you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, tune in to, or if you can, go to the next NCWTS to experience it.
You may find the racing to be the best NASCAR has to offer.
Other articles by Jim McCoy include: