The next stop on the ChampTruck World Series tour was wet and wild! Held at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP), which sits on over 500 acres in Millville, NJ, this venue is conveniently located near Philadelphia and New York City and offers many diverse attractions for the racing enthusiast, including two world-class road courses, karting, and ten acres of paintball fields.
The race series continued with the familiar teams of Jupiter Motorsports and driver Ricky Rude in his #14 Pete, Allen “Turbo” Boles in his black and lime green #3 Peterbilt, and Justin Ball in his #17 black and purple Peterbilt. Truck Race Team USA added another truck to their team with Tommy Boileau at the wheel of the #16 Volvo, while his new teammate, Karoly Fazekas, took over the #23 Volvo. Also on track was the #73 Freightliner of Robbie Decker of Exodus Motorsports in Mooresville, NC, Mike Morgan and his black #88 “Mackvader” of Powershift Performance, and Chris Kikelhan in his flat black and yellow #31 Freightliner Colombia.
Friday consisted of practice and qualifying on the 1.9-mile “Lightning Raceway” under sunny skies with Mike Morgan #88 having the fastest lap time of one minute and 28 seconds (1:28.7 to be exact). Saturday was filled with four heat races and the podium race under very wet conditions, which lead to some exciting racing and strategic maneuvering. The wet weather impacted the team’s strategies and lead to some fantastic rooster tails, a little bit of “off-road” racing, and fish-tailing.
Heat Race #1 was won by Mike Morgan of Powershift Performance. Heat Race #2 started in the rain with the #31 of Chris Kikelhan and #14 of Ricky Rude leading the pack down the first straightaway, but Rude took a quick 7-truck lead over Kikelhan. Justin Ball (#17) got caught off-guard going into Turn #1 with the slick track and took an off-road excursion. Lucky for him, he was able to regain control and get right back on the track without even losing a spot. The biggest battle came at the end of the race between teammates Rude and Ball – they were neck-and-neck coming into Turn #1 when Ball went off track, which allowed Rude to take the win. Throughout the rest of the day, Turn #1 and Turn #7 proved to be the biggest challenge, with the slick track giving the crowd a real show. Ricky Rude of Jupiter Motorsports seemed to handle the weather better than most, taking the win in Heats #2, #3 and #4.
The Podium Race proved to be the biggest challenge of the day. Everyone was going all-out, but it seemed that the weather was the winner. With the wet track and many fishtail maneuvers, there were several avoidable contacts between trucks which lead to the disqualification of Jupiter Motorsports’ #14 Ricky Rude. Unfortunately, the podium race was not able to be completed and had to finish under a full course yellow/checkered flag due to oil on the track from a truck’s oil pan being cracked. Picking up his first podium win of the season was that of Truck Race Team USA driver Tommy Boileau. Final results for the podium race were: 1st Tommy Boileau (#16); 2nd Mike Morgan (#88); 3rd Robbie Decker (#73); 4th Karoly Fazekas (#23); 5th Justin Ball (#17); 6th Chris Kikelhan (#31); 7th Allen Boles (#3); and 8th Ricky Rude (#14), due to his DQ.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The next ChampTruck race was scheduled to be held at Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois, but, unfortunately, the entire series has now been put on hold. The following e-mail was sent to us from ChampTruck’s CEO and Founder, John Condren, explaining the situation:
“At a recent ChampTruck World Series event, ChampTruck officials were required to enforce an aggressive driving penalty against one of our series’ teams. This action caused the penalized team to issue a statement of withdrawal from the series. The issue-at-hand is that this team maintains three (3) truck entries in the series and supports/influences an additional European-based team that enters two (2) trucks in ChampTruck events. In total, the withdrawal has reduced ChampTruck’s field by five trucks – 60% of the total field. With only three or four remaining trucks, ChampTruck’s management has found the series to be unsustainable. Therefore, effective immediately, ChampTruck has announced the suspension of operations and the curtailment of future events, pending a reorganization of the series.”
Stay tuned to 10-4 for any further developments. We sincerely hope they can successfully reorganize and build a fun and competitive racing series.