On Tuesday morning, NASCAR announced changes to the format of the July 23 Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, the series' only dirt track race on the schedule and the only race on a dirt track for any national series of NASCAR.
Changes include no longer mandating pit stops during competition cautions. Last year, they were mandatory. This year, pit stops during competition cautions are optional. The other two biggest changes will affect the qualifying procedure. Qualifying races will be lengthened to 10 laps each, up from eight laps apiece a year ago. Also, qualifying order will be determined by a random draw, as opposed to setting qualifying order by practice speeds as NASCAR did last year.
There will also be a tweak to the way owner points will be awarded this time around, specifically, more teams will be awarded owner points. Last year, teams that did not advance to the main feature did not earn owner points. For the 2014 race, though, owner points will also be awarded to the top-five teams that do not transfer to the main feature race, in addition to the teams that do advance.
The 2014 race at Eldora will be the second Camping World Truck Series race at the track and the second-ever race for the series on dirt. The Truck Series made its debut at Eldora in 2013. Austin Dillon, then a regular in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, won last year's race.
"Last year's inaugural event at Eldora Speedway was an incredible success and these enhancements will only increase the excitement for our fans," Camping world Truck Series Managing Director Chad Little said. "NASCAR continually works with team owners and drivers to ensure that NASCAR fans get what they've come to expect out of the NASCAR Camping World truck Series -- close, thrilling racing, every single lap."
Here is a rundown of the new, modified format for truck racing at Eldora.
All entrants will make two-lap, single-truck qualifying runs to determine starting positions for qualifying races. There will be five qualifying races, each 10 laps in distance and only green-flag laps counting toward that distance. The starting line-ups for these races will be based on the single-truck qualifying speeds, with the five fastest trucks from the single-truck runs starting on pole for their respective qualifying races.
Five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the feature, with four of those being locked-in trucks and the other being a non-locked-in truck. There will be a total of 25 trucks advancing to the feature from these five qualifying races.
There will also be a last chance race for the remaining trucks. That race will be 15 laps in length with only green-flag laps counting. The top four finishers of the last chance race will move on to the feature and start that race in positions 26 through 29.
There will be 30 trucks, in all, in the feature race. The 30th starting spot will go to the most recent past champion not already in the race. If there isn't a past champion not already in, the last spot will got to the fifth-place finisher in the last chance race.
The feature race will total 150 laps divided into segments of 60, 50 and 40 laps, with competition cautions between segments. The laps that make up the competition cautions will not count.