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NASCAR Trucks at VIR? Perhaps one day

VIRginia International Raceway at Alton will be making history Aug. 23-24 when the track stages its first NASCAR-sanctioned stock car racing event - The Biscuitville 125 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.

While the buzz centering around the first NASCAR race at the world-famous historic road course is picking up, there were some relatively new visitors to VIR last week –NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams.

Some Truck Series teams, including the Turner Scott Motorsports Team that fields entries for Halifax resident Jeb Burton, Miguel Paludo and defending series champion James Buescher, were at VIR testing last week in preparation for an upcoming Truck Series road race in Canada.

With the first NASCAR race at VIR on the horizon, the obvious question is will VIR officials pursue bringing the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to VIR for an event. 

“I’m pursuing any kind of racing I can get at VIR,” Director of Track Operations Kerrigan Smith replied when the question was put to him.

“I’m trying to bring any kind of race in here. It just makes sense to have people come out here and just try it and give us feedback and let us know any kind of input they have, to whether it makes sense to race here.”

Paludo, whose background is road racing, says VIR would be a great venue for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“I think it would be awesome,” the Turner Scott Motorsports driver said.

 “I tested here last year for the first time in a Nationwide car. The first thing I thought after I saw the Canada race (on the Truck Series schedule) I thought we could run here easily. 

“It (VIR) is close to Charlotte, N.C. and Mooresville, N.C. (where the overwhelming majority of NASCAR teams are based),” he added.

“It’s a nice racetrack and a nice facility. The track’s got heavy braking, fast corners, tight corners, downhill, uphill, it’s a road course that’s all you ask for. I think it would be great.”

Smith said Danville resident Timothy Peters, who drives for Red Horse Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had a good experience while testing at VIR.

“I don’t think anybody shared any data with us or had a lot of feedback on whether they could run a Camping World Truck Series race here,” Smith said, “but with the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park being there on their (the Truck Series) schedule, I think you can see that they (NASCAR officials) are looking at the K&N Pro East Series and diversifying their races and reaching a broader fan base.”

A question that some observers may have about bringing the Truck Series to VIR is whether or not the historic track is wide enough to allow the big high-horsepower trucks to stage competitive races.

“It’s going to be a different type of racing for them,” Smith pointed out, “so there is always going to be the question is VIR wide enough. Some people will say being a historic track with natural terrain and elevation changes is good to race on. If you want wide you’ll go out to a brand new track that’s just been built today and you’ll get that wide.”

Smith and other VIR officials are constantly working to improve the facility, enhance the racing and the competition and bring in the top levels of professional racing events whether it be the American LeMans Series, NASCAR, or other professional road racing series.

A part of that effort, Smith says, is putting together plans to widen some areas of the legendary VIR circuit.

“We have plans coming up in our capital expenditures for widening (the track) in different areas to help the competition,” Smith noted.

“We’re actively looking at it in the next two years.”