The championship for the world’s fastest semi trucks will be decided Saturday on Bristol Motor Speedway’s high banks with the feature scheduled for 6:25 p.m. It’s just part of an all-day event which includes a big truck show, a meet-and-greet with the drivers, heat races, kids’ big wheel races, head-to-head shootout races, the feature race and the 2019 Bandit awards presentation.
Ricky “Rude” Proffitt from Weaverville, North Carolina, is going for his third straight Bandit Big Rig Series title. He currently holds a 13-point lead over Minnesota driver Mark Noble in the driver standings with Allen Boles 56 points back. Six drivers are within 90 points of the lead.
“To win the first championship was unreal and to repeat it was awesome. If I can win the third one, it would be the greatest thing ever,” said Proffitt, a two-time winner this season. “It would be a big burden off my shoulders. If I win, I will be tickled to death. If I don’t, I will be disappointed, but I will congratulate whoever wins with a smile.”
While they’re about providing a great family show — racer and promoter Craig Kruckeberg compared it to Disney on Ice, Monster Trucks and the Harlem Globetrotters — the racing is serious competition as Proffitt pointed out.
Boles, also from Weaverville, North Carolina, said there’s no doubt this is the biggest race in the series’ four-year history. Proffitt explained the series has raced in all four corners of the United States, but the extra attention to coming to Bristol is something like they’ve never seen. Boles talked about the prestige that goes with racing on the world’s most famous short track.
“We all want to win Bristol. It means so much to me,” Boles said. “I watched the big truck race here in the ’80s. We’ve been in the trucking business since 1972, but this is a dream come true. Now, I’m racing at Bristol.”
SCHEDULE AND TICKETS
A truck show with over 100 semis on display is scheduled for 9 a.m. The gates open to the speedway at 11 a.m. with a practice session starting at 11:05 and qualifying at noon. There is a driver meet-and-greet session on the track from 1-3 p.m. with heat races starting at 3:30 p.m. Shootout races, challenge races follow with the feature at 6:25 p.m.
General admission tickets are $15 before midnight Friday and $25 the day of the event. Kids 8-under are free. Infield access is $50 with premium infield $100.