Knoxville Raceway discusses the upcoming NASCAR dirt race

Years in the making, Knoxville Raceway welcomes the NASCAR Truck Series

In 2013, Eldora Speedway made history. For the first time ever, the NASCAR Truck Series were set to race on the dirt. In the years that followed, the Eldora Dirt Derby merged fences, placing avid dirt racing fans and NASCAR fans behind the same gates.

In 2021, that chapter comes to a close. Eldora Speedway will not host the NASCAR Truck Series event on the dirt. However, the trucks will run two dirt races next year.

“The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series provides some of the most intense and entertaining competition in all of racing,” “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.”

Knoxville Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway will each host a dirt racing event for the Truck Series. The Spring Bristol event will bring dirt to the familiar half-mile concrete oval, both the NASCAR Truck Series and NASCAR Cup Series will take to the dirt track.

Knoxville Raceway on bringing NASCAR to the dirt

“With the help of NASCAR, Knoxville Raceway is ready to pen another chapter in the history that’s been created at the most legendary dirt track in the world,” said Knoxville Raceway’s Race Director John McCoy.

McCoy added, “We’re honored by the faith NASCAR has placed in our facility and staff to raise the already high bar in delivering the best racing to our fans. We’re proud to join NASCAR in bringing Knoxville Raceway to a national television audience and to showcase what sprint car fans have known for generations. There’s no where like Knoxville.”

“Thrilled doesn’t quite capture what it means to have the opportunity to showcase what dirt racing fans all over the world already know – that Knoxville Raceway is the greatest and most prestigious dirt track in the world,” said Spire Holdings’ Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Joey Dennewitz.

Dennewitz added, “Some of the most famous and accomplished race car drivers in the world have built their resumes on the hallowed dirt of Knoxville Raceway. We’re grateful to NASCAR and the Marion County Fair Board for helping us bring this vision to life.”

Related: NASCAR Trucks wont return to Eldora Speedway for Dirt Derby in 2021

Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway 8590
Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway 8590

NASCAR heading to Knoxville

On July 9th, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series unloads in Knoxville, Iowa.

Knoxille Raceway is a half-mile dirt oval that opened in 1901. 3,400 race trucks are finally set to tackle the famed dirt track located in the ‘Sprint Car Capital of the World’.

Previously, before NASCAR first went to Eldora, they explored other options before signing. Track officials from Iowa Speedway came down to Knoxville to explore the idea of running a NASCAR race on the dirt at Knoxville. (Iowa Speedway is owned by NASCAR.)

At that time, they didn’t like the idea of guardrails. Knoxville Raceway is surrounded by multi-story layers of guardrails to prevent sprint cars from landing in the street adjacent to the race track.

Years prior, NASCAR officials decided it was a risk to throw heavy stock cars on a track with guardrails with fear the cars could go right through them. Now, they’ve circled back around to give the track a shot in 2021.

Related: Knoxville Raceway promoter details the NASCAR dirt race discussion (2017)

“It’s a great show and a great event to have at Knoxville,” Knoxville Raceway race director John McCoy told the Des Moines Register.

“We’ve worked awfully hard to try to get it. We’re doing a lot of improvements and trying to get another race to go along with what we have already.”

Jonathan Davenport at Knoxville Raceway - Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 6792
Jonathan Davenport at Knoxville Raceway – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 6792

NASCAR in Iowa

Several years ago, there was a lot of rumors circulating that Iowa Speedway could get a cup race. I went to an ARCA race there in 2013, the place was packed.

Soon after, those rumors began to die out and so did the crowds. The dreams of a Cup race at Iowa Speedway have just about evaporated.

Now, Iowa has a new event to be excited about. And in the years that follow, there’s always a chance this event transforms into a double-header with the NASCAR Truck Series and NASCAR Cup Series.

Related: Richard Petty says dirt track racing ‘isn’t professional’ as NASCAR returns to dirt

It’s definitely the first time that outside of Iowa Speedway that trucks, the NASCAR upper series have been able to race for Iowa fans,” McCoy said. “I think it’s pretty big for Knoxville in those steps and to try to elevate our race track to fans all across the state and the Midwest, I hope.”  

The Knoxville promoter is hoping this leads to more NASCAR races on the dirt in Knoxville.

“That depends on a lot of things and probably the direction that NASCAR is taking with some of the dirt racing,” McCoy said. “I think they’re sticking their feet in the water, so to speak, here in the dirty to find out what’s going on.

“It definitely looks like they’re branching out in a few more dirt events.”

Related: Kyle Larson on NASCAR’s upcoming Bristol dirt race, “I think it’s still 500 laps. So, that’s pretty crazy.”

NASCAR Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 14: Christian Eckes, driver of the #51 SiriusXM Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
NASCAR Truck Series
2021 Schedule

Date | Track

February 12, 2021
Daytona International Speedway

February 19, 2021
Homestead-Miami Speedway

March 5, 2021
Las Vegas Motor Speedway

March 20, 2021
Atlanta Motor Speedway

March 27, 2021
Bristol Motor Speedway (Dirt)

April 17, 2021
Richmond Raceway

May 1, 2021
Kansas Speedway

May 7, 2021
Darlington Raceway

May 22, 2021
Circuit of the Americas

May 28, 2021
Charlotte Motor Speedway

June 12, 2021
Texas Motor Speedway

June 18, 2021
Nashville Superspeedway

June 26, 2021
Pocono Raceway

July 9, 2021
Knoxville Raceway (Dirt)

August 7, 2021
Watkins Glen International

NASCAR Truck Series

August 20, 2021
World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway

September 5, 2021
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

September 16, 2021
Bristol Motor Speedway

September 24, 2021
Las Vegas Motor Speedway

October 2, 2021
Talladega Superspeedway

October 30, 2021
Martinsville Speedway

November 5, 2021
Phoenix Raceway


Knoxville Raceway | NASCAR