The 2018 Bandit Big Rig Series has officially begun, and we at 10-4 Magazine are proud to announce that we will be bringing you all the race reports throughout the year. In the 2018 season opener, held at Mobile International Speedway in Mobile, AL on Saturday, March 24 (after the original date of March 10 got rescheduled due to rain), veteran racer Allen Boles (#3) pulled out the win. Boles gave it his all last year, but try as he might, he couldn’t catch eventual champ Ricky Rude (#14). But, this year may be different.
In a tight finish, Boles captured the checkered flag in Saturday’s Bandit Big Rig Series debut at Mobile International Speedway. For his efforts, Boles stole a $10,000 check, as well as bragging rights. “It’s about time!” Boles said. “I came close to some feature wins last year, but this is awesome to finally get first place.” Boles held off Tommy Boileau (#16), Ricky Rude, newcomer Mark Noble (#74) and Tyler Kruckeberg (#54), who earned a top-five feature finish for the first time in his career.
“I was very happy for all these Bandits and how much they put into their trucks during the offseason,” Bandit General Manager Jason Johnson said. Despite Saturday being a makeup date for rain, the event saw a near-capacity crowd take in all the action. “What a great turnout,” Johnson said. “The fans of Alabama were out in full force.”
In addition to Boles’ feature win, this race saw the debut of another unique event – an Australian Pursuit race, which had two Bandits going head-to-head for just one lap, with the winner advancing to the next round. When all was said and done, Boileau was the only Bandit left standing. “It’s too bad this wasn’t for the $10,000 check,” Boileau jokingly said, adding, “That was a ton of fun!” The Australian Pursuit race was filled with action. “I was very impressed that the Bandits kept it clean with nothing but bragging rights on the line,” said Bandit’s Jason Johnson.
In addition to all the racing action, Minimizer sponsored the Fan Series Truck Show. “It’s a free work truck show in which anyone can enter. No politics or trophies, just fun. People can come hang out and have a great time,” Minimizer Director of Marketing Steve Hansen said. “We will be hosting one before every race this season.”
The next series race was originally scheduled for April 7 at Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, NC, but due to bad weather, that event was postponed and rescheduled for August 11. Bandit fans packed the World’s Most Famous Short Track last year, and organizers say they expect more of the same come August. “There’s no doubt that it’s disappointing, but we have to consider everyone’s safety. With the weather forecast being what it was, the best move was to postpone the event,” said The Godfather Craig Kruckeberg (#55). The plan ensures that the event at HMS will still serve as one of the crown jewels of the 2018 Bandit season.
“Our fans in North Carolina are some of the best. We saw that firsthand last year, so we were really excited about the upcoming event. Moving it down the road means it’s still going to be as big if not bigger than what we originally had expected, which is very exciting,” Bandit General Manager Jason Johnson said. All times will remain the same, with the green flag dropping at approximately 7:00 p.m. on August 11th. The Fan Series Truck Show remains scheduled for 2 p.m. that day, as well.
“It’s going to be huge,” Johnson said. “Even though the postponement is far from ideal, we’re trying to make the best of the situation. We’ll still have fireworks, a pit party with live music, activities for the whole family, local vendors, and the Bandit meet n’ greet. Bandit fans at the World’s Most Famous Short Track will not want to miss this one come August!”
But, in the meantime, there’s plenty of other racing to be done. Next up for the Bandits is Motor Mile Speedway in Fairlawn, Virginia, on April 21st. Look for a report from this event in 10-4 next month! And, if the Bandit fans in North Carolina can’t wait until August, the rigs return to the Tar Heel State on May 5th, when they hit the track at Concord Speedway in Concord, NC. “This gives fans in North Carolina a great chance to catch us not once, but twice,” Johnson said. “We love our fans and can’t wait to put on a show for them at the speedways in both Concord and Hickory!”
The Bandit Big Rig Series was created to bring short track truck racing back to the United States, and for it to be affordable and accessible for anyone wishing to put together a race team. The series was formed and organized by the folks at Minimizer, who also produce and sponsor it, as well. Leveraging over 30 years of manufacturing expertise at their state-of-the-art facility in Blooming Prairie, MN, Minimizer is not only the leader in poly semi-truck fenders – they invented the category altogether!
In addition to the poly truck fenders and brackets, Minimizer also makes tool boxes, tire masking kits, work benches, 5th wheel slick plates, lights, light panels and other truck accessories. Their most recent innovations include the world’s only custom-molded floor mats for semi-trucks, as well as the revolutionary “whole body health” Minimizer Truck Seat System and their newly-introduced line of high-end mattresses for trucks. Family-owned and operated for three generations, Minimizer manufactures its products in the USA and makes every one of them tough enough to please the toughest people in this harsh industry.
For more details about the Bandit series, upcoming races and dates, info about the drivers and teams or to buy Bandit gear, visit www.banditseries.com. For more information about Minimizer and their many innovative products, visit www.minimizer.com.
And, if you can’t make it out to a race in person, all of their events throughout the year will be streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and their website, so there is no excuse to miss any of the action. And with new drivers, new trucks and new teams, this season should be the most exciting one, yet!