After much delay the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series released a 'tentatively' scheduled 23 race calendar for the upcoming season that will see the series form part of no less than six NASCAR tripleheaders alongside the Winston Cup and Busch Grand National Championship's, four Indy Racing League rounds and the CART FedEx Championship finale.

Following a lengthy and unexplained delay, the National Association for Stock Car Auto
Racing (NASCAR) finally announced a 23-race schedule for the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season although all races are 'tentative - subject to change' according to the official release.

For the first time in it's eight-year history, the series will begin and end in the state of Florida and in combination with NASCAR's other two national touring series - the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division while fans of both the Indy Racing League and CART FedEx Championship will also get a first hand look at the Trucks during the course of the season.

The season begins with the third running of the Daytona 250, February 15th at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. The season finale is set for November 15th at Homestead-Miami Speedway where both Winston Cup and Busch Grand National closes out its year on the same weekend.

Four other facilities will host NASCAR national touring series weekend tripleheaders kicked off by a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event: Darlington Raceway on March 15th where the Trucks make their second stop of the year after a month lay-off following Daytona, Dover Downs International Speedway on May 31st, Richmond International Raceway on September 5th and Phoenix International Raceway on November 8th for the penultimate Cup, Busch and Truck race of the year before heading to Florida and the expansive Ralph Sanchez-owned Homestead complex.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series also will be paired with the NASCAR Winston Cup
Series at the Martinsville Speedway on April 13th and at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 20th. The Trucks join the Busch Grand National Series for two traditional doubleheaders at The Milwaukee Mile on June 29th and Indianapolis Raceway Park on August 2nd.

One track, Texas Motor Speedway, will host two races in 2002, on June 7th and September 13th where the Trucks will be supporting the Indy Racing League on both occasions. They will also support the IRL at Kansas Speedway on July 6th and at the returning Michigan International Speedway on July 27th for the series' first visit to the two-mile oval since 2000

Gone are the races at the tiny Mesa Marin Raceway and Nazareth while the series remains an all-oval Championship for the second year in succession after previous sojourns at Watkins Glen and Portland International Raceway.

Seventeen events will be held on tracks of one mile or greater in length while six races are set
for short tracks ranging in size, from quarter-miles to three-quartersmile ovals (Martinsville, Pikes Peak, Memphis, IRP, Richmond, South Boston).

With just eight 'stand alone' events amongst the 23 races, series bosses are hoping that this will generate more support after some alarmingly low turnouts last season. The series also needs to attract something of a new fan base in the absence of many of the series' 'Star' names such as Jack Sprague, Scotty Riggs and Joe Ruttman.

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES 2002 SCHEDULE

Feb. 15 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla
March 15 Darlington Raceway, Darlington, S.C.
April 13 Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.
May 5 Gateway International Raceway, St. Louis, Mo.
May 13 Pikes Peak International Raceway, Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 31 Dover Downs International Speedway, Dover, Del.
June 7 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas
June 22 Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tenn.
June. 29 The Milwaukee Mile, Milwaukee, Wis.
July 6 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.
July 13 Kentucky Speedway, Lexington, Ky.
July 20 New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
July 27 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich.
Aug. 2 Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Ind.
Aug. 10 Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, Tenn.
Aug. 25 Chicago Motor Speedway, Chicago, Ill.
Sept. 5 Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Va.
Sept. 13 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas
Sept. 21 Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway, South Boston, Va.
Oct. 13 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vagas. Nev.
Nov, 2 California Speedway, Los Angeles, Calif.
Nov. 8 Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix, Ark.
Nov. 15 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Miami, Fla.