A new racing series featuring Class 8 trucks in oval track races starts its first full season next month in North Carolina. The Bandit Big Rig Series, which offers a total purse of $50,000 at each event, will host 13 races this season, culminating in a finale in late October in Cordele, Ga.
The series’ first race will take place March 25 at the Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, N.C. The bulk of the inaugural Bandit season’s action will take place in the Southeast, with stops slated in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, in addition to multiple races in South Carolina and North Carolina. Races are also scheduled for Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Attendance for spectators cost $15-$20, depending on the track, says series director Brian Madsen. Kids get in for $5, he says.
Each race day includes three eight-lap heats featuring a third of the day’s racers. Two more “challenge” races will be held after the heats, Madsen says, and a points system will determine the starting lineup for a final 30-lap feature race.
The feature race will be the day’s main event and will award season points to drivers and teams. It will also decide the winner of the weekend’s purse. The feature race winner will receive $10,000, Madsen says, and $40,000 more will be awarded to the remainder of the field. Every competitor is guaranteed $500, but each racer’s take-home will be based on where he or she finishes in the weekend’s featured race. One driver and one team will win season points championships.
“We’re going Saturday night short tracking,” says Madsen of the series’ format, which he notes is a departure from the short-lived ChampTruck series. ChampTruck raced on longer, road course tracks that have left and right turns. The Bandit Series will run exclusively on shorter oval tracks. The longest track will be five-eighths of a mile, says Madsen, and most events will be held on even shorter tracks, such as the quarter-mile Highland Rim Speedway outside of Nashville.
The ChampTruck series abruptly shut down last year in the middle of its second season. Minimizer, which raced two trucks in the ChampTruck series, picked up the pieces and assembled the new Bandit Series.
Nearly all of the teams that competed in the ChampTruck series are committed to racing in this year’s Bandit season, says Madsen. Right now, 18 trucks and their teams plan to race, he says. A few more teams could join later.
Full season schedule:
March 25: Hickory Motor Speedway | Newton, North Carolina
April 15: Greenville Pickens Speedway | Easley, South Carolina
May 13: Montgomery Motor Speedway | Montgomery, Alabama
June 10: Greenville Pickens Speedway | Easley, South Carolina
July 1: Highland Rim Speedway | Greenbrier, Tennessee
July 15: Hawkeye Downs Speedway | Cedar Rapids, Iowa
July 28: Madison International Speedway | Madison, Wisconsin
Aug. 5: Lebanon I-44 Speedway | Lebanon, Missouri
Sept. 2: Florence Motor Speedway | Timmonsville, South Carolina
Sept. 23: Highland Rim Speedway | Greenbrier, Tennessee
Oct. 14: Hickory Motor Speedway | Newton, North Carolina
Oct. 28: Crisp Motorsports Park | Cordele, Georgia