The Bandits Are Back! Big Rig Racing Series Kicks Off New Season This Weekend
Little Rock, Arkansas – Excitement is building as the Bandit Big Rig racing series kicks off its third full season this weekend in Mobile, Alabama.
In only a short time, the heart-pounding racing action has won over fans from across the United States and around the world. Craig Kruckeberg, CEO and competitor in the Bandit Series, told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) in an exclusive interview, the fans are the number one reason the series exists. “We love our Bandit fans,” he said.
Indeed they do. Before each of their scheduled 12 racing series events in 2019, fans have the opportunity to come down onto the track and meet the drivers and see the big rigs up close. In fact, kids love to get inside the rigs and check them out, Mike Morgan, driver of the #88 Mackvader, told TNN.
Morgan, who is an accomplished big rig racer and voted last year’s “Favorite Bandit” by the fans, has been known to stay at the track long after the racing has ended to spend time with his fans. “We’ll be there with the fans until midnight when they are turning the track lights off,” Morgan said. “I think the fans appreciate that.”
Fans will also appreciate a new change coming to the Bandit Series this year in select locations. Ticket prices are being lowered from $25 to $15 to make it easier on those who want to come to the track and experience the thrills for themselves.
Kruckeberg said he believes more fans will be able to attend as a result of lower prices, and that’s good for everyone including the sponsors. He insists once people attend a race, they get it.
“We call it a race series but we’re really an event,” Kruckeberg said. On top of great big rig racing action and the popular Bandit meet-n-greet with the drivers; racegoers will also enjoy fireworks, a fan participation contest called the Bandit Shootout, parade laps, and much more.
There’s plenty of fun to be had by all members of the family, but things really heat up when it’s time to race because a $50,000 purse is up-for-grabs at each event. The winner of the showcase race of the night takes home a cool $10,000.
Back-to-back Bandit Series grand champion, Ricky “Cupcake” Rude, knows just how intense it can get out on the track. He recently told TNN that in order to be the best, you can’t take even a single lap for granted. “Every lap you’ve got to give it your best,” Rude commented.
Rude, who drives a 40-foot end dump hauling coal and bulk material by day, has won more than $200,000 over the last two years competing in the Bandit Series. He took home 3 wins and 7 top five finishes on his way to last year’s championship.
He credits much of his success to the opposite of what his name suggests. “The only way you can obtain this trophy is respect,” Rude explained. “We bump, we grind, but we race clean.”
Rude knows drivers like Kruckeberg and Morgan are intent on knocking him off the proverbial mountain this year. “I’ve got a huge target on my back. I kind of feed off of pressure,” Rude said.
“I’d love to take Ricky off of the top of that pole,” Morgan commented. “It’s time for someone else to get their hands on that golden trophy.”
Adding to the list of drivers aiming to dethrone Rude is a host of newcomers onto the series this year. The new blood will add even more intrigue Rude says.
“We’ve got some drivers that are a little spirited, but when you’ve got new drivers coming in, I have no idea what their characteristics are,” Rude conceded.
Kruckeberg believes those who bring professional commercial driving experience to the track have an advantage over drivers like he and Morgan, who is a technician for Mack. “That’s why Ricky does so well because he drives a truck every day,” Kruckeberg contended.
So, who will drive away as the Bandit Series champion this year? Fans can get their first taste of this year’s action this Saturday, March 23, at Mobile International Speedway in Mobile, Alabama.
You can find the entire Bandit Series schedule of races HERE. Remember, for those who can’t make it to the track, TransportationNation.com is your home for the live stream of each race along with full coverage of the series.
Make sure to watch and subscribe to the Bandit Series channel so you don’t miss any of the action.