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Big-Time Competition, Big-Time Fan Appeal

By on September 1, 2017
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You Want Racing Action? Minimizer Bandit Big Rig Series Delivers!race-2

With Eight Minimizer Bandit Big Rig Series races down and five to go in the inaugural 2017 season, the championship is up for grabs. That’s exactly what Minimizer CEO & Chief Visionary Officer Craig Kruckeberg had in mind when his company signed on as the 2017 series title sponsor. The traveling series is visiting four tracks in the Southeast twice each and five tracks in the Southeast and Midwest once each. All tracks are located within 400 miles of Nashville, TN.

“Circle Track Truck Racing is back!” exclaimed Kruckeberg when the Minimizer title sponsorship was announced at the Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas. The series represents the return of short track truck racing. The season’s first race took place on March 25 at Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, North Carolina. The season will wrap up on October 28 at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia.

“Minimizer signed on as strategic sponsor of the Bandit Big Rig Series because it doesn’t get more grassroots then this in the trucking industry,” stated Kruckeberg. “This type of heavy-duty truck racing is intense, and there’s significant pent-up fan demand. Finally, the trucking industry has its own fun!”

The heavy-duty trucking industry also sees the Bandit Big Rig Series as a conduit to the next generation. Industry leaders know that they must attract future drivers, owners and operators.

“The family entertainment approach of this race series creates that opportunity,” says Brian Madsen, Director of Operations for the series. “Minimizer recognized the research and development opportunity for its products. The engineering team can test and torture Minimizer fenders and other aftermarket accessories on the race trucks.”

Kruckeberg acknowledges the marketing angle is very attractive. “There’s tremendous value here, we’re able to showcase our products in front of our target demographic. It’s raw, authentic racing. The rules are designed to discourage the chance of simply buying a race by investing in a superior truck.”

Billing itself as the “workin’ man’s race series,” the affordable and accessible Bandit Big Rig Series is determined to quickly become one of the largest segments of professional motorsports. The series was designed to be affordable and accessible for anyone wishing to build a truck and go racing. As explained on page 30, the rules package keeps trucks basic and simple, while delivering fast, competitive action. Fans are already selecting their favorite drivers and trucks to cheer for. By 2019, the goal is to establish a national “King of the Bandits” by expanding West.

During 2107, a $50,000 purse will be available at every event, with $10,000 going to the feature winner. The program includes 12-lap heat races, 12-lap challenge races and the 25-lap feature. One or more support series are typically on the evening’s program. The deep resources of the Minimizer Bandit Big Rig Series provide for cash payouts from 1st to 25th place for the feature event.

Hawkeye Downs Report

Along with RoadKing exhibitor participation at the 38th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree on Thursday through Saturday, July 13-15, the opportunity to gather input for this story from the pit area and positions inside the track during the racing action was too good to pass up. The distance from Walcott to Cedar Rapids is approximately 70 miles involving a little more than an hour on the Interstate.

The relatively flat ½-mile paved racing surface provided a good test for the trucks and drivers. The trucks arrived on the track for a few warm-up laps prior to each race with horns blaring, much to the delight of the fans in the packed stands. From the drop of the green to the waving of the checkered, the on-track action was fast and furious. Diesel smoke billowed, tires squealed, and trucks slid as the drivers battled side by side during every race throughout the evening. With points given for passing as well as finishing position, the drivers had plenty of incentive to put on a good show.

Immediately after the trucks were lined up for the 25-lap feature, fans were invited to join the teams on the track, see the big rig race trucks close up, and receive hero cards and driver autographs. It was great to see the large number of families that took advantage of this opportunity, especially the kids talking with drivers and having photos taken with their favorites. This fan engagement initiative certainly helped raise the profile of the overall series, the trucks, drivers and sponsors.

The number 8 inversion pill was drawn for the feature, placing the point leaders just far enough back to assure some great racing action, as those atop the standings set sail for the front. Justin Ball in the No. 17 grabbed the lead on lap two and held it through 11 circuits. A hard-charging Mike Morgan quickly worked his way to second by lap five and started closing on Ball. With a nifty move to gain the top spot on lap 12, Morgan was looking quite stout in pursuit of his third consecutive feature win. On lap 21, however, disaster struck as he chose the outside to overtake lapped traffic. The result was a locked crash bar entanglement with another truck that saw both tear up about 300 feet of safer barrier heading into turn one.race-3

Morgan was assessed a penalty that moved him to the tail end of the lead-lap. Ricky Rude who had grabbed second on lap 18 in hot pursuit of Morgan took over the top spot, however, a left rear crash bar bent inward during the aftermath of the Morgan incident created a serious tire rub. With a trail of smoke clearly indicating a major problem, Rude faded to 10th as a rear tire went flat by the last lap.

Tommy Boileau in the No. 16 and early-leader Ball took over the top two spots respectively and held them to the finish. Morgan put on a spirited charge and settled for 3rd. His right front tire—new at the start of the feature—showed severe wear all the way down into the metal cords. It’s unlikely he could have made another five laps at race speeds. For Boileau, the finish was sweet as he picked up his first win of the season and the $10,000 check that goes along with it.

Race 7 Recap:

The official Race 7 results for the five Bandit Big Rig Series events at Hawkeye Downs looked like this:

Heat 1 – 12 Laps

1. Ricky Rude, No. 14

2. Tommy Boileau, No. 16

3. Jon Lisenbee, No. 7

Heat 2 – 12 Laps

1. Mike Morgan, No. 88

2. Chris Kikelhan, No 01

3. Bob Boileau, No. 00

Challenge 1 – 12 Laps

1. Ricky Rude, No. 14

2. Mike Morgan, No. 88

3. Chris Kikelhan, No. 01

Challenge 2 – 12 Laps

1. Tommy Boileau, No. 16

2. Bob Boileau, No. 00

3. Jon Lisenbee, No. 7

Feature – 25 Laps

1. Tommy Boileau, No. 16

2. Justin Ball, No. 17

3. Mike Morgan, No. 88

4. Chris Kikelhan, No. 01

5. Allen Boles, No. 3

 

Season Standings after 8 of 13 Events

The point standings at the conclusion of racing action at Madison International Speedway show the season championship picture is far from clear. With a few breaks, good or bad, anyone in the top six could put on a late-season charge that would result in the coveted Bandit Big Rig Series season championship.

Truck # / Make Driver Hometown Points

14 / Peterbilt Ricky Rude Weaverville, NC 2812.00

88 / Mack Mike Morgan Wartrace, TN 2754.00

16 / Volvo Tommy Boileau Colorado Springs, CO 2707.50

17 / Peterbilt Justin Ball Cambridge, OH 2688.00

3 / Peterbilt Allen Boles Columbia, SC 2417.50

01 / Freightliner Chris Kikelhan Quakertown, PA 2367.50

7 / Freightliner Jonathan Lisenbee Weaverville, NC 2131.00

26 / Mack Travis Buckner Weaverville, NC 2076.00

27 / Mack Darren Proffitt Weaverville, NC 1946.00

4 / Western Star Scott Treadway Marshall, NC 1924.00

55 / Volvo Craig Kruckeberg Blooming Prairie, MN 1867.00

54 / Volvo Tyler Kruckeberg Blooming Prairie, MN 1667.00

6 / Freightliner Robbie Decker Mooresville, NC 1483.50

29 / Peterbilt Joey Seaman Eldridge, MO 1013.50

63 / Volvo Trevor Kruckeberg Blooming Prairie, MN 0948.00

00 / Freightliner Bob Boileau Colorado Springs, CO 0602.50

63 / Volvo Adam Neely Columbia, SC 0277.00

54 / Volvo Virgil Taylor Montgomery, AL 0091.00

 

Remaining Events:

By the time you read this article, the 9th race will be complete. Two races in September and two more in October will decide the season championship. Check out these remaining 2017 races and make plans to attend one or more events during September and October.

Race 8 – July 28
Madison International Speedway
Oregon, WI

Race 9 – August 5
Lebanon I-44 Speedway
Lebanon, MO

Race 10 – September 2
Florence Motor Speedway
Timmonsville, SC

Race 11 – September 23
Highland Rim Speedway
Greenbrier, TN

Race 12 – October 14
Hickory Motor Speedway
Newton, NC

Race 13 – October 28
Crisp Motorsports Park
Cordele, GA

Catch the Live Big Rig Action!

Each race is Live Streamed on the Bandit Series website and facebook page. Just go to BanditSeries.com/Livestream and click on one of the links to view the live action. Plus you can also view 2017 archived events!

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