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A Close Look at Big Rig Racing 0

Posted on June 05, 2020 by Martin Banks

When we start talking about racing, we usually think of sleek cars that hug the ground as they tear around the track. We don’t normally picture massive big rigs in their place. What does big rig racing look like, and why is it becoming so popular with race fans around the country?

The History of Big Rig Racing

Big rig racing might not have the history that NASCAR or Formula One has, but it’s been around since 1979. This racing style was featured in the opening of the movie “Smokey and the Bandit II.” Three years later, it became a sanctioned sport, dubbed the Great American Truck Racing circuit or GATR. These GATR races continued from 1982 until the sport closed its doors in 1993.

Some drivers tried to revive the sport in the form of the ChampTruck World Series, but found it shuttered after just a season and a half, starting in 2015 and ending the next year. The race series founder claimed they would work on reorganizing it, but truck racing as we knew it was over. 

In 2017, the Bandit Big Rig Series made its debut, which was the first officially sanctioned big rig race in the United States since GATR closed its doors in 1993. It’s become so popular that at one event, the line to enter the stadium to watch these behemoths race was over a mile long. 

Building a Racing Rig

What does it take to turn one of these massive haulers into a rig worthy of the racetrack?

According to race promoters, you can build a racing semi for around $25,000 if you’re willing to make the investment. Unlike Formula One or NASCAR, reaching a top speed isn’t the goal for these races. These racing rigs are restricted to a top speed of 100 mph for safety reasons. Beyond that, there isn’t a lot of modification allowed before these behemoths hit the track. 

While the aerodynamics of a big rig might not be as sleek as what you’d find on a more traditional race car, they can still have a huge impact on how successful one of these monsters is on the racetrack.

If building a racing rig sounds like something you want to do with your life, get familiar with the rules and regulations for the Bandit Big Rig Series or any local races you enter. 

Once you’re on the track, the goal is to finish in first place after a handful of laps on a half-mile track. There are occasional crashes, but injuries are a very rare occurrence on the big rig track.

Racing a Big Rig

Big rig racing has repeatedly come and gone again, and now it looks like it’s become so popular that it will be around for a while. You must be doing something right if your event has a line that stretches a mile out the door. Big rig racing might not ever be as popular as NASCAR or Formula One, but it fills a niche most people didn’t even realize they were missing.

The 6 Best Cars for Drag Racing 0

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Martin Banks

Drag racing is a unique sport. Instead of focusing on things like handling, a dragster’s sole purpose is to generate as much torque and speed as possible. These aren’t the kind of cars you take to the track on the weekend and use for your daily driving during the week. If you’re looking to break into the world of drag racing, the first thing you’ll need is an automobile. What are the best vehicles to use on the drag strip?

1. Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

You can’t go wrong with the car Ford designed for the drag strip. The Mustang Cobra Jet debuted on racetracks in 1968 and then appeared again for its 40th and 50th anniversaries. Each of these incarnations saw a limited run. However, you might still get your hands on one if you’re looking for something made for the strip. Ford is even working on a new all-electric prototype — the Cobra Jet 1400 — that should debut sometime later this year.

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The History of Monster Truck Racing 0

Posted on April 16, 2020 by Martin Banks

There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a high-powered piece of automotive engineering tearing its way around the track — unless that engineering marvel happens to be a monster truck. These massive trucks are designed with their own look, personality and even their own theme songs, but where did the practice of monster truck racing begin? Let’s explore the history of monster truck racing and see where it might go from here.

In the Beginning

While we’ve always had the need for speed when it comes to racing, we didn’t start using massive trucks to do it until the early 1980s. In 1982, Bob Chandler created the world’s first monster truck out of a Ford F-250. With massive tires and a suspension that lifted the vehicle so high off the ground you needed a ladder to get in, it was barely recognizable as a Ford. 

That year, in the Silverdome — located in Pontiac, Michigan — Chandler used his heavily modded F-250, which he renamed Bigfoot, to demolish a pair of cars. 

The reaction was astounding. Suddenly everyone wanted to create a massive monster truck that could crush as many cars as possible, and these modded trucks started popping up at fairs and shows around the country. While these exhibitions were great fun to watch, they weren’t races. It wasn’t until 1987 that the United States Hot Rod Association stepped in to create competitive contests.

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How to Get Started in Truck Racing 0

Posted on March 10, 2020 by Martin Banks

Racing isn’t a word that naturally evokes images of trucks in your head. At least, it isn’t for most folks. Trucks do go racing, though! If your interest in motorsports centers on truck racing, you might not know where to get started. 

Like all motorsports, the secret to going truck racing is to get out and take the plunge. Many first-timers feel intimidated if they lack enough information about where to get started. It’s a big leap to start racing, so we’ve gathered a few good suggestions about how you can make your first foray into truck racing. 

Join the SCCA

As the country’s preeminent amateur racing body, the Sports Car Club of America will play a role in your racing career sooner or later. If you want some guidance on where to begin, there’s no better move than to join your local SCCA chapter. From there, you’ll get info about events happening around you and other motorsports-focused groups that you can participate in. You’ll connect with fellow racers, learn where to sign up and find out about the types of events you can participate in locally. 

Go to Rally School

Even if you’re not into truck racing, you might want to do this for fun. Across the country, driving professionals are opening schools on large farms and open spaces where you can learn the basics of rally racing. Will you be in a truck? Perhaps not, but the things you’ll learn about how to accelerate, brake and position the vehicle for corners on dirt will translate to your truck-racing career. In racing, robust fundamentals are everything.

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Surprise Winners of the Daytona 500 0

Posted on February 11, 2020 by Dean Hybl

Many familiar names in stock racing history, including Petty, Earnhardt, Waltrip, Johnson, Gordon and Yarborough have reached victory lane at the Daytona 500, but there have also been a number of surprising victors in the Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing.

Below is a look at some victorious Daytona 500 drivers who did not parlay their Daytona victory into memorable NASCAR careers.

Tiny Lund won the 1963 Daytona 500.

DeWayne “Tiny” Lund – 1963 Daytona 500 Champion; 5 career NASCAR wins

At 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, DeWayne Lund’s nickname of “Tiny” was a bit of an oxy-moron, but the journeyman race car driver somehow managed to fit his large frame into a stock car and achieve notable success.

A part-time driver in NASCAR’s highest series, Lund came to the 1963 Daytona 500 looking for a ride. Not only did he leave as the Daytona 500 champion, but also as a hero. When his friend and 1961 Daytona 500 Champion Mavin Panch suffered an accident driving an experimental Ford in the Daytona Continental three-hour sportscar race (a precursor to the 24-hours of Daytona), the car burst into flames. Lund ran into the fire and pulled Panch from the wreckage. The act earned him the Carnegie Hero’s Medal and also a ride as Panch’s replacement in the Daytona 500.

Driving for the Wood Brothers, the plan was for Lund to maneuver the 500 miles on one less fuel stop than the rest of the field. Lund led late in the race before being passed with 10 laps left by Fred Lorenzen. However, he soon ran out of gas to give the lead back to Lund. Ned Jarratt soon passed Lund and looked poised for victory. However, with three laps left he too ran out of gas. Lund ran out of gas on the final lap, but was able to coast home for victory.

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How to Get Started in Truck Racing 0

Posted on January 09, 2019 by Martin Banks

If you own a truck, you may have thought about taking it racing once or twice. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just showing up at the track and paying the entry fee. What do you need to do to get started in truck racing?

Choose Your Race Type

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Just like with cars, there are different types of races you can enter your truck in once it’s ready. The preparations you need to do will vary depending on the competition. There’s drag racing, where you will need to increase horsepower and torque to blast down a quarter-mile strip as quickly as possible. There’s off-road racing, where your suspension and tires will require a serious upgrade. There’s track racing, drifting, desert racing and even super truck racing, where drivers speed around the track in souped-up delivery trucks.

Your next steps for getting started in truck racing will depend on the type of race you choose. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

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