Editor’s Note: My Life at SPEED would like to welcome Nicole Ball as part of our team!! Thanks for the ChampTruck story and we will look forward to many more! Thanks Nicole!
I had the pleasure of shooting at a ChampTruck race in Colorado Springs, CO at the Pikes Peak International Raceway. It was a three day event packed with practices, 2-3 heats, qualifying races, and the Podium Race on Sunday. There were also Miatta races and Indy style car races in between the times that the trucks were racing.
You might be thinking, well this just sounds like NASCAR for Semi Trucks, but it is so far from that! These trucks go 100mph and weigh around 12,000lbs a piece. Each track is different, some may have more straightaways while others have way more turns. This makes for a unique experience each race for the drivers as well as the fans.
Just imagine these trucks roaring past you on the straightaways trying to fight for that first position. Gripping to the turns and sliding on all 6 tires and you might catch a glance of a rear wheel lift. They do all this while trying to not hit each other. If you were lucky you got to see some trucks do “agricultural racing”. This isn’t just a car driving through the grass, it is a 12,000lb truck jamming through gears to get out of that grass and get back on the pavement.
Do you have a better mental picture now? Good!
I had an advantage to be behind the scenes more than the average person coming to see the races. I got to see the environment in which they work and how each team helps each other. They swap ideas and tools and when anybody gets in a bind they all try and pitch in anyway they can. It is more like a family. Yes, they all want to win but they support each other in every aspect. What happens on the track, stays on the track.
They had vendors set up so you could buy shirts, stickers, lanyards, and hats…there was plenty of ChampTruck merchandise for the fans. On Saturday and Sunday they had an autograph session so fans could meet all the drivers and get a poster, t-shirt or a ticket autographed. This is such a great and personal aspect because it makes the fans more welcome to the ChampTruck community, especially the kids. At this track, they had a viewing tower so you could see the whole track and not miss a single piece of action.
For me, the Podium race was the most exciting. Mike Morgan blew his tire and was back in the race being only two laps behind. There was a fight between Stuart Oliver and Krisztián Szabó for first place. They would switch from first to second back and forth, bringing this tension in the air to keep your eyes glued. Towards the end of the race it started to rain and ended up being a good downpour. This is when Stuart Oliver took his opportunity to take first place in the race. Passing Krisztián through the S turns drifting by and making the crowd cheer.
Stuart ended up winning the Podium Race and did some winning donuts just as the rain began to clear and the sun shining through.
This series welcomes all drivers alike, including the every day truck driver to championship winners. It will blow your expectations out of the water. Even if you are hesitant about going to one of these races, go! Your mind will change and you will definitely become a ChampTruck fan for life.
Here is the season schedule so you too, can check out a ChampTruck race!
You’ll be hooked, just like we are!!
July 2-4, 2015: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Full Roval)
17 – 19 July 2015: Gateway Motorsports Park (Full Roval)
6 – 9 August 2015: Virginia Int’l Raceway (Road Course)
28 – 29 August 2015: Texas Motor Speedway (Full Roval)
11 – 13 September 2015: Motorsports Park Hastings (Road Course)
2 – 4 October 2015: Portland Int’l Raceway (Road Course)
30 Oct – 1 Nov 2015: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Road Course)