In the motor sports obsessed U.S. you would think semi truck racing would have an active and devoted following but yet there is nothing. To add more confusion truck racing is very popular all across Europe with an actual racing body devoted to the sport. Yes, I know us Americans have the truck version of NASCAR but we all know that doesn’t count. So what is the deal? A little digging around the web reveals an former racing league by the name of the Great American Truck Racing Series. Through the late 70’s and into the mid 80’s this group hosted a series of truck races at tracks across the country. By all accounts interest was high and participants numerous. There was even TV coverage with high production values and announcers like Brock Yates. Check out some of the clips below. It’s amazing to see Brockways, Autocars, Whites, and Macks all racing side by side on step oval tracks.
Ahhh, now I could watch this each Sunday for a few hours. Sadly, it was not meant to be. BangShift.com did some digging on the GATR series and found that tracks hosting the big rigs suffered for it, literally. The weight of these racing trucks put together with the 10+ tires they ran would actually destroy the tracks by removing the top layers of asphalt. Running the trucks proved to be rather expensive with high insurance and tire costs. Sometime in the late 80’s GATR disappeared and with it American semi truck racing.
If you still need a fix the video below shows what our European brothers enjoy.
And while there may not be a true national presence like GATR the rigs still race all across the country at small tracks, where some would argue the purest forms of racing still exist.
*UPDATE 6/26/2014* It looks like big rig racing is returning to America! Click here!