Mike Morgan’s black “Mackvader” has been a little under the weather this season, but fans saw a vintage “88Mike” performance at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, PA on Saturday, July 7. Morgan (#88) held off Bandit Big Rig Series points leader Ricky Rude (#14) to take the checkered flag, putting some of Mackvader’s engine issues behind him.
“The last ten laps I was holding my breath, because we knew Ricky was coming,” Morgan said. “We’re still trying to work on things to get our Mackvader better, but man, it did really well tonight!” “If I had about three more laps, ol’ Mackvader would have been second or third,” said Rude. “Me and Mike are good friends and he’s a great driver who deserves the win.”
Morgan wore his son’s lucky hat during the race, since his wife and son couldn’t attend the event. “Everyone who’s been involved with the race series over the years has signed this hat,” Morgan said. “He calls it his lucky hat, so I wore it tonight.” Morgan even knows what he’s doing with the $10,000 check, saying, “Yeah, we’re getting new tires on the truck now.”
The Boyer RV Bandit Shoot Out nearly saw history, as Scott Treadway (#4) tossed up 12 consecutive wins before Rude bested him in the finals. No Bandit has ever run the table in the Shoot Out, but Treadway’s 12-straight wins is a record. “That was very impressive,” Bandit Race Director Brian Madsen said. “Treadway had that high line working and he used it to his advantage.”
The very next weekend, on July 14, the Bandits found themselves in Salem, IN at Salem Speedway, where Justin Ball was just in time! After 12 top five finishes, Ball shook off the ghosts of past feature races to win his first ever a-main at Salem Speedway. “It’s been a long time coming!” Ball said. “I can finally put a rest to (Bandit announcer) Adam Otwell’s question of ‘Is tonight going to be the night?’ Well, Adam, tonight’s the night!”
Ball (#17) held off current points leader Ricky Rude (#14), who finished second. “I’ve still got a truck I can load on the trailer under its own power. That’s a win!” Rude said. “Congrats to ‘Boost’ (Ball). I’m proud of him.” A caution flag on lap 15 led to an exciting finish between Ball, Rude and Mike Morgan (#88). “We just kept passing people,” Morgan said. “I’m feeling great at this point in the season.”
Morgan also battled Ball in the finals of the Bandit Shoot Out, where ‘Boost’ capped off the night by winning the Shoot Out, too. A young man named Camden drew Ball’s number prior to the Shoot Out, meaning Camden picked up a crisp $100 bill for the win. Word on the street says Camden is saving the
cash for a Corvette.
Next, the Bandits head to La Crosse Speedway in La Crosse, WI on Saturday, July 28th. Less than 24 hours later, they’ll be back at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, IA to finish June’s event, which was postponed due to bad weather. “It’s going to be a long but fun weekend,” Bandit General Manager Jason Johnson said. “Who knows what the standings will look like in two weeks? A lot is on the line with two features races to be decided in one weekend.”
Currently, Ricky Proffitt (#14) is leading the series with 3,582 points, Mark Noble (#74) is in second with 3,242 points, and Tyler Kruckeberg (#54) is in third place with 3,115 points.
Tickets for all the Bandit Big Rig Series events can be purchased on their website (www.banditseries.com). $5.00 gets fans in the door at Hawkeye Downs. “We’ll be running the challenge races as well as the a-main feature in Cedar Rapids,” Johnson said. “Fans who were there back in June can bring their tickets to the gate and get in free.”
After Wisconsin, the Bandits are scheduled to be at Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, NC on August 11, Elko Speedway in Elko, MN on August 25, and then Anderson Speedway in Williamston, SC on September 15.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Robyn Kruckeberg of Robyn K Photos for providing the great pictures for this and other Bandit Race Reports!