Ricky “Rude” Proffitt had little doubt coming into the final race of the 2018 Minimizer Bandit Big Rig Series season last weekend that he would emerge as the back-to-back champion following the race.
Proffitt held a lead of more than 600 points heading into the contest at Elko Speedway in Elko New Market, Minnesota, on Oct. 13, and only a catastrophic series of events would have prevented him from repeating as champion. That series of events did not unfold as Proffitt led for most of the race and ended up with a second-place finish in the race, earning his second consecutive championship.
“I try to stay consistent [throughout the season],” Proffitt said. “I had a comfortable lead coming in, but I wasn’t anything until that checkered flag dropped. I didn’t think [the race] was ever going to end, but I got the championship and came in second – I’m tickled to death.”
The Weaverville, North Carolina, native and truck driver Proffitt started the Elko race in the pole position and held the lead through four out of five cautions during the 30-lap race before truck racing rookie Mark Noble got the best of him on the fifth restart and never looked back. Noble was in second place in the points entering the race, but with Proffitt’s strong finish, his first win wasn’t enough to close the massive gap Proffitt had established throughout the season.
Despite being a rookie in the Bandit Series, Noble is no stranger to racing. He racked up more than 600 short track dirt racing wins throughout his career and gave truck racing a shot this season, earning one win, eight top five finishes and a second-place finish in the overall points standings.
Rounding out the top five in the season’s overall points standings behind Proffitt and Noble were Justin Ball, Tyler Kruckeberg and Allen Boles.
The Bandit Series is set to return in 2019.