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Big Rigs, Monster Trucks ready for BMS

Jeff Birchfield • Oct 16, 2018 at 4:14 PM

BRISTOL —  The racing is about to get bigger, much bigger at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Vehicles from the Bandit Big Rig Series and Monster Trucks did laps around the track and infield Tuesday to promote the upcoming Metro by T-Mobile Halloween Monster Truch Mash scheduled for Saturday, October 27.

Eight monster trucks will compete in two disciplines: racing and freestyles, while the Bandit Big Rig Series will have two 25-lap heat races on the .533-mile oval.

Fans should arrive early as gates open at 1 p.m. for the Monster Trunk or Treat Party, where kids are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes. A few lucky kids were able to get their Halloween candy early.

The show begins at 3 a.m. and includes a jet dragster, a jet outhouse and a jet Polaris RZR.

While the Monster Trucks are an annual visitor, it will be the first time that Big Rigs have raced on Bristol's high banks in over three decades. Big Rig driver Allen Boles remembered coming to watch the last race at Bristol as a fan.

"I was 12 or 13 years old when my dad brought me over here as a fan and loved it," Boles said. "To come back here racing in the truck, it's a dream come true. We've raced at the little short tracks across the United States, but this one here, I love to be here."

Boles and fellow racer, Ricky Rude, are both from Weaverville, N.C., and they work day jobs as semi-truck drivers where they haul coal out of Kentucky to South Carolina, where they will often pick up sand and bring to the General Shale block plant in Piney Flats.

They commented they drive through Johnson City every day.

With their racing, it's normally on the flat, short tracks, while the high banks of Bristol present a different challenge as Rude, who recently wrapped up the Bandit Big Rig Series championship, explained.

"The steepest track we've run on is Salem, Indiana, but you don't get the feel of it like you do at Bristol," Rude said. "The trucks are rough, big, heavy-spring trucks, but you can find the line where you run real smooth. To race at Bristol, that's the highlight of your career."

Monster Truck driver Kristen Hope also put on a demonstration where she ran over piles of gravel, smashed pumpkins and did a series of burnouts in the Razin' Kane vehicle. The 20-year-old from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, believes this will be the ultimate thrill shows for the younger audience, especially with the extra-curricular activities like trick-or-treating planned.

"It's the first time we've done a show with the big rigs and monster trucks," Hope said. "It's super exciting and going to be amazing for these kids with the monster trucks and the big rigs. It's super noisy, super loud and they're going to love it."

TOP GUN SHOWDOWN

South Carolina racer Kyle Bitterman rode his Honda to the win in the 450 Pro race Sunday at the Suzuki Top Gun Showdown at Muddy Creek Raceway. Bitterman finished runner-up to defending champion Kobe Heffner on a KTM in the first 450 moto and then powered to the win in the second moto.

Another KTM racer, Jyire Mitchell of Bermuda, won the 250 Pro portion of the event with his 1-2 finishes in the moto, beating the 4-1 posted by Indiana rider Ezra Hastings.

The amateur winners included a couple of local riders. Brandon Hughes of Roan Mountain won the 30+ Amateur division and Chris Furches of Jonesborough took top honors in the ATV Novice race.

Carson Eads of Kingpsort was runner-up in three classes, while Houston Hayworth of Kingsport was second in one race and third in another. Brandon Sorah of Bluff City was runner-up in the Unlimited C/D race.

SUNDAY DIRT TRACKING

Volunteer Speedway has rescheduled its 'Pink Out' Breast Cancer Awareness Race for a Cure program for Sunday afternoon. It is the 2018 Championship Points Racing finale at the 4/10-mile dirt track.

Jonesborough racers Jensen Ford and Tim Byrd will be amongst the favorites in Crate Late Model division. Overall, the duo has combined for five wins this season. Another favorite, Tim Maupin of Johnson City, is still looking for his first win of the year.

The season championship has already been wrapped up by Trevor Sise of Knoxville, and his brother, Zach, has won the Sportsman Late Model title. Other divisions are not yet determined.

Grandstands open at 11 a.m. with a drivers' meeting at 1:30 p.m., followed by practice, qualifying and racing.

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