The 32nd annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck show had intentions of “Going Big” and hosting their largest, most event-packed event to date, and they did not disappoint. Held on May 15-17, 2014 at the zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC (the location changes every year), this show was one of the most looked forward to occasions of the year for truckers. With big rides, big events, big prizes and a chance at being selected for a spot in the 2015 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar, who wouldn’t be excited?
The show got off to a rough start on Thursday with torrential rain and a tornado warning, bringing events and judging to a halt. Due to the horrendous weather, the amount of trucks rolling into the lot and through the judging line plummeted. Later that night, with the rain now beginning to clear, attendees were treated to a free concert by Texas rock musician Phil Pritchett, debuting his recent release of “Going Big” – a song dedicated to this year’s event.
On Friday morning, clear skies were a welcome sight as judging and a jam-packed day of events got underway. Joey Logano, NASCAR driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil car, stopped by the show in the afternoon for a Q&A session with fans and to award Colby VanDerslice the 2014 OOIDA Mary-Johnston Scholarship. Afterwards, contestants were treated with a BBQ lunch in the afternoon.
As the sun set over the dragway, 25 bobtails lined up for a parade that would circle around Charlotte Motor Speedway, giving a few lucky drivers the opportunity to take a lap around the track in their rig. Contestants were also treated that night with free tickets to the Camping World Truck Series race, the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, before the light show took place. On this night, Kyle Busch and his #51 Toyota dominated, starting on the pole, and then going on to lead all but four of the 134 laps and win the wreck-filled race.
A few hours later, the light show and competition for the big rigs out in the parking lot got underway. Around midnight a brilliant display of fireworks exploded above the rows of lit-up trucks, along with an abundance of glow sticks that were handed (thrown) out to the attendees and spectators, adding a fun atmosphere and bringing out the creative side in a few folks. One of the most favored trucks of the night was Snow Farms’ green and silver 1996 Freightliner Classic XL. With its green-glowing lights, this truck took the Best Lights award.
The sun once again showed its face Saturday morning as another day with a full schedule began. At around 2 p.m. trucks began lining up to roll through the awards presentation. Two of the show’s biggest winners were Bill Rethwisch Jr. and his green and white 2014 Pete 389 and matching Polar tanker and Ashley Transport’s purple and white Pete 379 with a matching chip trailer (10-4’s February 2014 cover feature truck). Rethwisch picked up Best of Show for the second consecutive year along with Best Interior, Best Engine, a spot in the 2015 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar and $15,000 cash. Ashley took home Best of Show 1st Runner-Up, Best Chrome, Best Theme, a place in the 2015 calendar and $7,000 cash.
On Saturday night, all of the show’s contestants were treated with free tickets to the Sprint Cup NASCAR race taking place at Charlotte Motor Speedway that night as part of the big Sprint All-Star weekend. Along with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, which was won by Jamie McMurray in his #1 Chevrolet, country singer Jake Owen and pop rock band Train performed at the speedway. It was an action-packed day, for sure!
Despite the weather conditions and a number of delays, the Shell Rotella SuperRigs 2014 show was one for the books. Once again, the event set the bar higher, as it does each and every year, in regards to awards and prizes (which include a bunch of cash and calendar spots), quality of trucks in attendance, and the amount of fun and extra activities offered. It only makes one wonder what will be in store for next year’s show – and all the shows to come. Stay tuned! And the winners were:
BEST COMBINATION: Eric Bilgo of Jackson, Wisconsin
BEST BOBTAIL: Truett Novosad of Caldwell, Texas
BEST CLASSIC: John Byers Jr. of Rutherglen, Virginia
LIMITED MILES: Vinnie Diorio of Richfield, Wisconsin
HARDWORKING RIG: Shawn Cielke of Haugan, Montana
SHOW TRUCK: Brad Wike of Lincolnton, North Carolina
BEST ENGINE: Bill Rethwisch Jr. of Tomah, Wisconsin
BEST LIGHTS: Daniel Snow of Harrison, Arkansas
BEST CHROME: Austin Ashley of Raleigh, Mississippi
BEST THEME: Austin Ashley of Raleigh, Mississippi
BEST INTERIOR: Bill Rethwisch Jr. of Tomah, Wisconsin
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Billy Griffin of Irving, Texas
BEST OF SHOW: Bill Rethwisch Jr. of Tomah, Wisconsin