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Maybe NASCAR's heavy promotion of its Truck tour is paying off


Maybe NASCAR needs to clone Kyle Busch (51), who has been tearing up the tour (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Maybe NASCAR needs to move its Truck series to prime time Sundays and bump the Cup tour back to the warm-up act.
   TV ratings from Saturday's Camping World race at Atlanta Motor Speedway scored a Nielsen rating of 1.29, meaning 943,000 households were watching, including a peak 1,197,000 households.
   That's a 23 percent jump in households over last year's race.
   While NASCAR's Cup series TV ratings have been rather blah, most Truck races last season posted major increases in TV numbers, a trend that has continued this season. Daytona's Truck ratings were up 21 percent.


Yeah, just figure some way to

Yeah, just figure some way to handicap Kyle Busch, like taking away a gear, and watch him scythe through the field to the front.

what worries me most about

what worries me most about the Truck series, aside from lack of sponsors, is the cost -- when Kyle said it would cost him $8 million to set up a Truck operation from scratch, and $3 million a year to run it, i was aghast. That's not the idea that Bill France Jr. had when he created the Truck series. I think we need to go back to the old Truck series rules, making it a lot cheaper, and more affordable, and then go after some sponsors and new team owners and pitch them. nobody is going to jump into cup, at the price point that division has reached, and with the level of business operation it takes.

No idea what has driven the

No idea what has driven the cost of running the series so high, other than materials and parts prices rising and the running of larger venues. I can say that of the Big 3, this is the series I would rather watch right now. I still wish the Cup drivers would stick to the Cup Series, but Baby Busch does bring some extra excitement to the truck races he enters. The series was set up to run a lot of short track venues (less than 1 mile), but now the Truck Series has left most of those those behind (South Boston, Mansfield, I-70, et al). Running the larger venues does increase the cost, but probably does not account for all of the price increase. In 1995, 15 of the 20 races were on short tracks and two more on road courses. By 2000, only 8 of 24 races were held on short tracks, and in 2009 only 6 of 25 races will be held on short tracks. Get that number back to half and the cost will come down some. Switch Nashville superspeedway back to the Music City Motorplex. Replace Chicago and Kansas (yawn) with I-70 and Toledo. And finally, send one of the Texas races to South Boston or South Georgia Motorsports Park. That would be a good start to cutting the cost of running the series and making the racing even better.

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