Ricky ‘Rude’ Proffitt eyes Bandit Series championship repeat as season opens

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Defending points champion Ricky “Rude” Proffitt (No. 14) is set to defend his title when the Bandits kick off their 2018 season at Mobile International Speedway this Saturday, March 24. (PRNewsfoto/Minimizer)Defending points champion Ricky “Rude” Proffitt (No. 14) is set to defend his title when the Bandits kick off their 2018 season at Mobile International Speedway this Saturday, March 24. (PRNewsfoto/Minimizer)

With the Minimizer Bandit Big Rig Series kicking off this Saturday, March 24, at Mobile International Speedway in Mobile, Ala., defending series champion Ricky “Rude” Proffitt has his sights set on a repeat despite a number of challenges he anticipates to see this year.

Last year, Proffitt earned five wins during the series’ inaugural season, but had to overcome a bad weekend during the final race weekend at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Ga., to hold onto his points lead.

“I learned a lot from that last race last year,” he says. “I made some changes to the truck that went the wrong way, and it almost cost me the championship. In the off-season, I’ve upgraded a lot of stuff on the truck. I’m going to have a new paint scheme and I added in new safety equipment to the truck.”

The series’ schedule this year features only two tracks that were on last year’s schedule, and Proffitt says that will present a challenge for all racers, while also keeping the playing field level.

“I think having so many new tracks this year gives everybody an equal chance,” he says. “We have limited practice at the tracks when we get there, and with no history to go off of at these tracks, the trucks won’t be as dialed in as they would have been at tracks we were more familiar with. Eighty percent of our season will be starting from scratch and seeing what we can figure out works best at each track.”

In addition to unfamiliar tracks, Proffitt says the series expects to see as many as 20 to 24 trucks on the track at some races this season, whereas last year, most races fielded between 12 and 15 trucks. Proffitt says more trucks and more competition is great for the series, but will make winning races that much more of a challenge.

Race festivities for this weekend’s race in Mobile will kick off at noon Saturday with the Minimizer Fan Series Truck Show that will run throughout the day. A meet-and-greet with Bandit drivers will be held from 4-6 p.m., and the races will begin at 7 p.m. Pre-sale tickets are available online here with general admission tickets going for $25 for adults, or $30 at the gate. Veterans and seniors can get in for $20, and children 8 and under get in free.

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The Minimizer Fan Series Truck Show is an opportunity for truckers to bring their rigs to the track to show off to fans attending the races. Jason Johnson, general manager of the Bandit Series, says at this point, there won’t be any judging and there are no truck class limitations. Anybody with any truck can register to park and participate in the show. All that’s required is a small minimum donation to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, which helps wounded veterans transition into the civilian workforce.

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