Phoenix, Arizona & the entire state has a rich history with motorsports & NASCAR; consider Marty Robbins as an example. Not only was he a talented country singer who famously wrote about El Paso, but he was also a native of Glendale, Arizona. And let’s not forget about the diverse range of racing events that take place every year. Those who reside there are well aware of NASCAR’s frequent visits with the Cup series, the Xfinity series, and the NASCAR Truck Series; a racing series that originated in Arizona in the mid-90s.
When was the first NASCAR truck race in Arizona?
Prior to being renamed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, long-time fans may recall it as the Craftsman Truck Series. After years of successful stock car racing, NASCAR made the decision to incorporate specially designed racing trucks into their lineup of racing series.
The inaugural race in the series was the Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic, which took place on February 5, 1995. Over 38,000 fans gathered at the Phoenix International Raceway, located in Avondale, Arizona, to witness this historic event. Esteemed drivers such as Terry Labonte, Ron Hornaday Jr, Geoff Bodine, Ken Shrader, Jack Sprague, and Johnny Benson were among the competitors vying for the first Truck win, ultimately seized by Mike Skinner.
Additionally, an exhibition race known as the 1994 Supertruck Tuscon 20 took place at Tuscon Raceway Park. However, since it was not an official truck series race until 1995 (you can watch the entire race here).
Today, the Phoenix International Raceway remains a crucial part of the NASCAR schedule; races have consistently been held there throughout the season, and it now serves as the venue for the season finale races for all three major series: The Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and the Cup Series.
While it’s possible that the first NASCAR truck race could have been held in a later year or a different location, I am grateful for the race that took place in 1995.
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Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer
Olivia Carter revs up excitement in the world of NASCAR. As a dedicated motorsports enthusiast, she covers race results, driver profiles, and the latest developments in the NASCAR world, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.