The ChampTruck World Series traveled to VIR (Virginia International Raceway), nestled in the rolling green hills of Alton, VA, for stop two of the 2016 season on April 30. And if there is a Heaven on Earth, this place is it! America’s first true “motorsport resort,” VIR is an entire vacation destination, with several onsite hotel and lodging options. Within the property’s rolling hills and miles of lush forest, guests can enjoy unique amenities like the exclusive driver’s club, karting, off-road racing, skeet shooting, pistol and rifle ranges, a skid pad, multiple dining options, a spa and so much more.
In addition to the ChampTruck race, there was also a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race that weekend – the Biscuitville 125. But, before any of the events began, on Friday afternoon, there was a 26-mile parade for the locals and out-of-town spectators to enjoy. The police and fire-truck escorted parade ran through the main street of Danville, VA and ended at the raceway. All traffic was halted on the road, as over 20 NASCAR and ChampTruck haulers slowly rolled on through to the track. It was a neat way to start the weekend.
It was a full day of racing, with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars and the ChampTrucks taking to the track, as they honed their racing skills on VIR’s legendary North Course – which is 2.25 miles long with 22 turns and 100 feet of elevation changes. In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race, Austin Cindric made a hard-charging pass on Justin Haley with only three laps to go to win the Biscuitville 125. Austin Cindric, the son of Penske Racing president Tim Cindric, is only 17 years old. It was obviously a very emotional win for this young man, who couldn’t stop screaming after taking the checkered flag!
The ChampTruck racing series continued with the familiar teams of Jupiter Motorsports and driver Ricky Rude in his #14 Peterbilt, Allen “Turbo” Boles in his black and lime green #3 Peterbilt, and Justin Ball in his #17 black and purple Peterbilt. It was also good to see Tommy Boileau back at the wheel of the #23 Truck Race Team USA Volvo.
On track for their first race of the season was that of Exodus Motorsports of Mooresville, NC, and driver Robbie Decker. He and his team have over 25 years in the trucking industry, and had their first experience in racing last year. As always, #88 Mike Morgan and his Powershift Performance Race Team’s big black “Mackvader” was looking to go big, go wide and go fast. Back in the seat for his second race of the season was newcomer Chris Kikelhan in his flat black #31 Freightliner Colombia.
The day’s events included practice, qualifying, two heat races, and then the podium race. With gray skies and a light drizzle to start the morning, it made for an interesting round of practice and qualifying. Practice started rough for the #31 of Chris Kikelhan, who ended up blowing a hose, but would get it fixed in time for qualifying. Ricky Rude was taking advantage of the practice and showing that drizzle wasn’t going to dampen his day – he had the fastest lap time of 2 minutes and 3.2 seconds. But, an on-going issue would present itself again for Rude in qualifying that he thought he had fixed after the Palm Beach race, where he was having power steering issues. Hoping that he would have it repaired in time for Heat Race #1, he and his crew went to work to correct the problem. Unfortunately, the repair was more extensive than he thought, and the issue would keep him out of the racing lineup for the rest of the day.
Qualifying would come to an end with Tommy Boileau in the #23 Truck Race Team USA Volvo having the fastest time of the qualifying round, which would put Boileau on the pole for Heat Race #1. Rounding out the front row with Boileau was the #88 of Mike Morgan (the defending 2015 series champion). As the green flag dropped, these two racers would battle it out for the entire time, swapping positions throughout – it looked like it was going to come down to survival of the track. Boileau would eventually win the battle, after Morgan went off track and ran into a tire wall.
The results of Heat Race #1 were: 1st Tommy Boileau (#23); 2nd Robbie Decker (#73); 3rd Allen Boles (#3); 4th Chris Kikelhan (#31); 5th Justin Ball (#17); and 6th Mike Morgan (#88). After the checkered flag dropped on Heat Race #2, the results were: 1st Robbie Decker (#73); 2nd Tommy Boileau (#23); 3rd Allen Boles (#3); 4th Justin Ball (#17); 5th (DQ) Chris Kikelhan (#31); and 6th (DQ) Mike Morgan (#88). Results for the final race of the day, the Podium Race, were: 1st Allen Boles (#3); 2nd Tommy Boileau (#23); 3rd Robbie Decker (#73); 4th Mike Morgan (#88); 5th Justin Ball (#17); and 6th Chris Kikelhan (#31).
It was an exciting second race of the season, which led to new emerging podium finishers with Boileau, Decker and Boles. This finish has presented a very interesting overall points race, with a tie for first place in both driver points and team points, between Mike Morgan of Power Shift Performance and Allen Boles of Jupiter Motorsports, as they head into ChampTruck’s third race at New Jersey Motorsports Park on May 20-21. After that, the rigs will be racing in Madison, IL at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 11. To find out more about the ChampTruck World Series, visit them at www.champtruck.us.com.