2021 Truck Series schedule unveiled, Top 5 main takeaways

Since 2000, the season opener for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been hosted by storied Daytona International Speedway. Next February will be no different for the NextEra Energy 250 that has produced some of the most memorable finishes in the sport as NASCAR announced the 2021 slate for the Series today.

The NextEra Energy 250 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will go off on Friday, Feb. 12, as part of DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth. The race will be just two days before the 63rd Annual DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14, President’s Day Weekend. It will mark the 40th straight time (dating back to 1982) The Great American Race has started off NASCAR’s Cup Series season. Denny Hamlin can rewrite history and become the first driver to capture three consecutive checkered flags in the DAYTONA 500.

This year, for the first time in history, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races actually took place at the World Center of Racing. Grant Enfinger held off Jordan Anderson by just 10 one thousandths of a second to capture the NextEra Energy 250 on the 2.5-mile 33-degree banking in February while Sheldon Creed, the 2020 Camping World Trucks Champion, laid claim to victory for the monumental first-ever DAYTONA Road Course race for the series in mid-August.

Families attending the NextEra Energy 250, as well as the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, Feb. 13, can take advantage of free grandstand admissions to all kids 12 years of age or younger. Tickets to the DAYTONA 500 and all events part of Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth, can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visiting www.DAYTONA500.com.

NASCAR today announced the full 2021 schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in general too. The schedule is highlighted by trips to traditional and new tracks alike, including a new battle in the dirt at an iconic NASCAR track, and a second dirt contest at another storied – yet brand-new – venue.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first dirt affair will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 27), joining the NASCAR Cup Series for an action-packed weekend on the short track’s return to dirt.

Then, on July 9, trucks will roll into Knoxville Raceway for what will be a highly anticipated contest on one of the most storied tracks in the country.  Located in Knoxville, Iowa, Knoxville Raceway hosted its first race in 1901, but is best known for a long, rich history of Sprint Car racing. When the Camping World Truck Series hits the dirt surface in the Hawkeye State, it will mark the first time a NASCAR national series has competed at Knoxville.

“The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series provides some of the most intense and entertaining competition in all of racing,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR vice president of racing development. “The 2021 iteration of the schedule will build upon that intensity through a wide variety of long-tenured race tracks and new venues like Knoxville Raceway. The variety of disciplines will increase the demand on drivers and culminate with a truly battle-tested champion at Phoenix.”

The Camping World Truck Series will kick off 16 national series tripleheader weekends in 2021, including at Circuit of the Americas (May 22) and Nashville Superspeedway (June 18). In addition, the Camping World Truck Series will return to fan-favorite Watkins Glen International for the first time since 2000 on Aug. 7.

The series will also share the stage with the NASCAR Cup Series on Saturday, June 26 in Pocono as all three national series take part in the NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader weekend at the Tricky Triangle.

As was originally scheduled in 2020 prior to the pandemic, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway will return to host the start of the Playoffs (August 20). Two historic short tracks will determine which drivers continue their Playoffs run, as Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept. 16) trims the field to eight and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 30) decides which four drivers will race for a championship at Phoenix Raceway (Nov. 5).

Broadcast times and networks for all three national series will be announced at a later date. Here are my main takeaways. 

2 Dirt Races, Eldora Not One Of Them

It’s crazy to think that the Truck Series will race not once, but twice on dirt tracks in 2021 and Eldora isn’t one of them. Eldora was dropped from the 2020 schedule due to the pandemic and not put back on it for 2021. There’s some rumors within the industry that NASCAR didn’t like that Tony Stewart started his own racing series and then they blindsided Stewart by adding a Cup race to Bristol on dirt. That wasn’t easy to secure a deal for Eldora after, which is why Knoxville’s dirt track will get added in Eldora’s place.

After not having any national series race on dirt for decades, NASCAR will have two dirt races for the Trucks in 2021.

Same Day Events With NXS

The Truck Series will race six times in 2021 on same day events with the Xfinity Series. Atlanta (March 20), COTA (May 22), Texas (June 12), Watkins Glen (Aug. 7), Talladega (Oct. 2) and Martinsville (Oct. 30) will see the two series share the same track on the same day with back-to-back races.

1 Less Race Despite 6 New Races

The 2021 schedule features 22 races. The 2020 one had 23. That’s despite the Truck Series adding six new races next season. Knoxville, Bristol (dirt), COTA, Watkins Glen, Darlington and Nashville are all added. But, they also lost Eldora, Chicago, Kentucky, Texas, Iowa, Dover and Michigan races too which is why it’s a net loss of one on the amount of races to be had in 2021.

Heavy Southern Start

The series starts on Feb. 12 in Daytona then will head to Homestead a week later for the second race of the season. They will go west a few weeks after that to Las Vegas, but a majority of the first half of the Trucks schedule will take place down south.

Atlanta, Bristol (Tenn), Richmond (VA), Darlington (SC), COTA (Texas), Charlotte (NC), Texas and Nashville (Tenn) will all host races after the Daytona-Homestead-Vegas start. The only other race in that timeframe not mentioned is Kansas on May 1.

That’s 10 of the first 12 races all taking place down south.

Tough Sledding For End Of Regular Season/Playoffs

It doesn’t get any easier when they finally do move away from the south in June. I mean, just look at what they’re facing towards the end of the regular season. A dirt track in Knoxville (July 9) and a road course visit to Watkins Glen (Aug. 7) closes the regular season. Then, you get World Wide Technology Raceway (Aug. 20), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Sept. 5) and Bristol (Sept. 16) for the first round. That’s an oval, a road course and Bristol to wrap up the first round.

The second round consists of Vegas, Talladega and Martinsville. A superspeedway and physical short track to close that round which sets the Championship 4 for Phoenix on Nov. 5.

That’s going to be a wild fight for the title down the stretch.

Below is the full 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule (Playoff races in bold font): 

2021 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE

Date

Race / Track

Friday, February 12

Daytona

Friday, February 19

Homestead-Miami

Friday, March 5

Las Vegas

Saturday, March 20

Atlanta

Saturday, March 27

Bristol Dirt

Saturday, April 17

Richmond

Saturday, May 1

Kansas

Friday, May 7

Darlington

Saturday, May 22

COTA

Friday, May 28

Charlotte

Saturday, June 12

Texas

Friday, June 18

Nashville Superspeedway

Saturday, June 26

Pocono

Friday, July 9

Knoxville

Saturday, August 7

Watkins Glen

Friday, August 20

Gateway

Sunday, September 5

Canadian Tire

Thursday, September 16

Bristol

Friday, September 24

Las Vegas

Saturday, October 2

Talladega

Saturday, October 30

Martinsville

Friday, November 5

Phoenix

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