KNOXVILLE — History is coming to Knoxville Raceway on Friday, with the Sprint Car Capital of the World hosting its first-ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on its iconic dirt track.
Big names are making the trip to Knoxville for The Corn Belt 150, with Truck Series usuals like defending series champion Sheldon Creed, current series points leader John Hunter Nemechek, and Stewart Friesen.
Creed will be driving in his No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing and will look to
But the new track does offer its uncertainties for Creed, who while expressed his excitement for the race, shared his questions heading into Friday night.
"I used to be really excited about dirt stuff. I don't know. It's not as cool or fun as you think," Creed said. "It's a slick track and puts it in the cars' hands with how good it drives when it gets like that."
Creed anticipates Knoxville will offer some similarities to Bristol's dirt track towards the bottom line, but noted that Knoxville is a flatter track and has a different dirt composition to Bristol.
Creed isn't in contention to make it into the top-three in points and with no dirt racing in the playoffs, he's just looking to gain as many stage points as he can.
"Still excited to go dirt racing," Creed said. "It's different, just different."
Along with Truck Series' usuals, Sprint Car racers will be making their series debut, headlined by Donny Schatz and Brian Brown. Schatz comes into Friday having won the Knoxville Nationals 10 times in his career, bringing a premier aspect to Knoxville. Brown has grown to become a fan-favorite in Knoxville, entering Friday as the defending Knoxville Raceway champion.
Schatz will pilot the No. 17 car for David Gilliland Racing. Brown will be driving the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 car.
Zane Smith hasn't traditionally raced on dirt and has never raced at Knoxville, but will race in the No. 21 car GMS Racing on Friday. Smith does have some experience on dirt, however, finishing seventh at Bristol back in March on dirt.
Like Creed, Smith can see the similarities people see between Bristol and Knoxville, but has heard the track could run a bit faster.
Smith also watched the Camping World SRX series race back in June, giving him an up-close view of how Knoxville will run and what it will take to get out of the back.
Smith said Knoxville won't have a lot of grooves and even with his prior knowledge of the SRX races, he admitted it'll be hard to not get stuck in the back.
"I've heard it's going to run more like an asphalt track," Smith said.
Tyler Ankrum, another driver making his first start at Knoxville Raceway, will take the wheel in the No. 26 car for GMS Racing.
Ankrum, like Smith, also got a chance to catch how SRX cars raced at Knoxville on June 20.
"I feel really good heading in," Ankrum said. "I don't think it'll be too different from SRX cars. That was great information to gather."
It'll be a day of firsts at Knoxville Raceway with many of the field making their Knoxville debuts, matched with the track's Truck Series' debut at the track.
The Corn Belt 150 will begin Friday at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.