Every year, from the Indy Racing League to NASCAR, the racing world's big players make their way to the sizzling one-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway. But an event showcasing the biggest ones of all -- literally -- will be there this weekend for the first time.
The Truxpo Monster Truck Tour, a festival guaranteed to lure truck enthusiasts from all over the Valley and state, takes its name from the dozen or so 10,000-pound giants that will be the center of attention at the event. Watch them race or crush anything in their paths and you'll understand how they earned such famously menacing monikers as Bigfoot, Samson and Raminator.
"I think this will be the most horsepower we've ever had at the raceway," says Kenny Kane, Phoenix International Raceway's director of publicity and business development. With each wicked truck putting out 1,500 horsepower, he's not exaggerating.
The Truxpo Monster Truck Tour
Phoenix International Raceway, 7602 South 115th Avenue in Avondale
Takes place Saturday, September 21, and Sunday, September 22. To get there, take I-10 to the 115th Avenue exit, then head south six miles. Gates open to the public at 10 a.m., and events run through 6:30 p.m. each day. Tickets are $14 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. To purchase, call 602-252-2227. The cost of registering your vehicle in any of the contests on the day of the event is $40. For a more detailed event schedule, contest rules and vehicle specifications, visit www.truxpo trucktour.com.
But Kane insists that the entire event, not just the monster truck races, will be a blast. "There will be so much to see and do, you won't be able to sit still," he says.
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You might be checking out the souped-up, slammed-down, pimped-out vehicles in the Show-N-Shine competition, with Mild, Wild and Extreme categories to handle every degree of pinstriping, supercharging and metalflaking you can imagine. Perhaps you might even enter your own truck to be judged, whether it's a classic, a four-wheel or two-wheel drive, an SUV or a mini truck. If the engine's big, the interior's slick or the modifications are impressive, maybe you'll snag a trophy.
Other options include cheering for whomever can make the most smoke in the Burnout Contest, watching amateur drivers compete for cash prizes in the Off-Road Competition or dropping your jaw over the high decibels cranked out in the Stereo Contest. In addition, the weekend features a display and parade of lowriders, both trucks and cars.
Stroll around the Manufacturer's Midway, a bazaar of after-market parts, truck accessories and souvenirs. And when you're ready for refueling, grab a hot dog from one of the food vendors.
No one will be stuck on the sidelines if they don't want to be -- Kane says that the cost of general admission gives every visitor the chance to check out the monster trucks, up close. "It's like a pit pass for everyone," he says. Sounds good enough to get any gearhead revved.