Sonoma Wide Track Shot
Sonoma Raceway | Getty Images

History, new buzz converge with Truck Series returning to Sonoma Raceway in 2022

Some of the greatest names in the history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series established their career racing out West on tracks like Sonoma Raceway in the California wine country.

And now the current stars of the series will have a chance to test their skills on the famed rolling road course with the addition of Sonoma Raceway to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for 2022. The June 11 race date — along with the June 12 NASCAR Cup Series race — marks the return of truck racing to the iconic Californian track after a 24-year absence.

RELATED: Buy tickets now!

The series, the facility and the fans appear eager to toast Wednesday’s welcomed NASCAR scheduling news.

2021 June3 Jill Gregory 1 Image
Jeff Speer | Sonoma Raceway

“We knew just in talking to the fans about what they wanted to see out here, they were like, ‘We want the trucks back out in Sonoma,’ ” said Sonoma Raceway Executive Vice President and General Manager Jill Gregory. “The racing is going to be great. The origins of the series are here and I think you’re going to get a lot of serious, hardcore Truck Series fans out here and I think it’s going to be great racing because all the drivers that you have in that series today, some will have been here before, some not — so the excitement on the track is going to be amazing, too.’’

One of NASCAR’s all-time memorable drivers, Boris Said, was the last to win a Truck Series race at Sonoma back in 1998. NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. won the series’ inaugural race on the track in 1995. Dave Rezendes (1996) and Joe Ruttman (1997) are past winners, too.

Sonoma and other West Coast tracks, like Mesa Marin Raceway and Phoenix Raceway, were anchors of the series in its earliest days. The popularity of watching racers such as Hornaday, Ruttman, Mike Skinner and Jack Sprague competing on challenging courses like Sonoma helped make the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series popular with fans and establish itself as a national mainstay.

And now the masses of current-day NASCAR and Truck Series fans will have a chance to watch the best of the series compete there again.

RELATED: Portland, Lucas Oil join new slate of tracks

“The early days of the Truck Series were out here and fans supported that series really early on,” Gregory said. “The drivers, a lot of them, came from this area and there are just so many NASCAR fans in Northern California that bringing the Truck Series back, we’re already hearing from fans that they couldn’t be more thrilled.”

The addition of a second national race to the NASCAR-Sonoma weekend was something Gregory said she had pursued almost immediately after assuming leadership at the facility. And certainly, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Ben Kennedy agreed with the vision. It made sense for fans, both Gregory and Kennedy said, but also for the race teams and corporate sponsors to expand the racing marquee at Sonoma.

“I think Sonoma is a great part of our country that we race in,” said Kennedy, who was a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series full-time driver and race winner before moving into his current role with the sanctioning body. “Obviously, a lot of corporate interests and opportunity to host (the trucks) out there. I think we have a ton of fans that come out to that race weekend. We felt like it was important for us to add additional content onto that weekend. … Having more of these experiences on some of these road courses and venues that the Trucks and Xfinity Series go to, really being the breadth of the future generation of NASCAR drivers, I think it gives them the ability to get a lot of experience at these tracks before they go Cup racing.

“A lot of factors certainly went into that final decision, but excited to be going out there with the Trucks. I think it will be a great part of the schedule.’’