Monster Bash

Monster Truck race debuts at speedway

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(September 2007) – Doug Noelke of Union, Mo., loved the adventure and excitement of mud bog racing with his truck. After nearly six years of competition, however, he realized there was an even more thrilling form of truck racing – monster trucks.

Major League
of Monster Trucks

• Oct. 13 at the Kentucky Speedway
• 12-truck race on a quarter-mile track plus a car-crushing freestyle competition.
• Monster Pass allows you early entry and exclusive access to the pit area during qualifying. Monster Pass is $10 extra but are free to those who purchase General Admission tickets now through Sept. 16.
• Gates open at 3 p.m. for Monster Pass ticket holders; Qualifying at 4 p.m.; Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for general admission; Autograph session and Freestyle Moto-X at 5:30 p.m.; Racing at 7 p.m.
• Tickets: $30 for Bluegrass Club; General admission $20 adults; $10 for children 3-12. 2-under free. Monster Pass $10 extra.
• Information: 1-888-652-RACE or visit www.KentuckySpeedway.com or www.MLMT.com

Noelke, 40, has been competing in various monster trucks racing series across the country for seven years. He will be among the competitors at the Oct. 13 debut of the new Major League of Monster Trucks race event at the Kentucky Speedway.
General admission for main grandstand tickets for this first-time event is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-12. Children ages 2 and younger are free.
Fan-favorite trucks such as Avenger, Big Foot, Tail Gator, Brutus, El Matador, Gunslinger, King Krunch and the Raminator will take part in the 12-truck field. These huge, roaring machines will race more than 70 mph on a challenging, custom-designed dirt track filled will jumps and bumps that will be constructed over the Kentucky Speedway's paved infield quarter-mile track.
The 8,500- to 11,000-pound trucks equipped with engines producing up to 2,200 horsepower will qualify for positions in three heats of head-to-head competition. Only two trucks will earn spots in the fourth and final round of the night.
Trucks will also catch air and crush cars during a freestyle competition scheduled to follow the race.
“This new racing series will take monster trucks to the next level of competition,” said series president and founder Joe Froome. “With 4 to 5 million fans already enthusiastic about indoor monster truck racing, the outdoor speedway venues will provide more opportunities for fans. And at the same time, it brings an elevated level of competition that can’t be seen at indoor events.”

Doug & Brenda Noelke

Photo by Don Ward

Doug and Brenda Noelke of Union Mo.,
are excited about the new monster
truck race at Kentucky Speedway.
“Tail Gator,” a 10,000-pound roaring
machine, will be one of 12 monster
trucks reaching speeds of up to
70 mph in the new Major League
of Monster Trucks race.

“We are delighted that MLMT selected our venue to be a part of its major U.S. motorsports facility growth plan,” Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. “This event certainly keeps pace with our strategic direction of delivering new and innovative motorsports entertainment options to our fans and sponsors in the Tri-state and expanding our operating season into the fall.”
The idea for the monster truck series had a simple beginning. In 1997, Froome approached the Chamber of Commerce in his small, hometown of Red Bluff, Calif., with an idea for a new family-friendly event.
“If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you know there are not many things to do for fun,” he said. He organized a monster truck event because his son wanted to see a monster truck show.
More than 10,000 people attended the inaugural three-event weekend of J&K Motorsports West Coast Monster Truck Nationals. In 2005, the Major League of Monster Trucks had its breakout year, and now tens of thousands of people across the globe attend race events annually.
The new, outdoor MLMT National Series will include six races at major speedways across the country this year, with 16 events scheduled for 2008. Other speedways getting in on the monster truck action include the Nashville Superspeedway, the Texas Motor Speedway and the Memphis Motorsports Park. “The speedways just seemed to be the natural course in the evolution of monster truck racing,” said Froome. “The fans and facilities are there, and it is an opportunity to build exciting race courses for the monster trucks.”

Tail Gator

Photo by Don Ward

"Tail Gator" towers above the
crowd when on display at the
August race weekend in Sparta, Ky.

Noelke said he is excited about participating in the new event at Kentucky Speedway. “It is such a beautiful facility, with great people. I am thrilled to be part of this new series.”
He is the owner of two monster trucks, Big Dawg and Tail Gator. Along with his wife, Brenda, Noelke travels more than 35 weekends a year to compete in monster truck races across the country. He is a member of the Monster Truck Racing Association and was named 2004 MTRA Driver of the Year and 2001 MTRA Rookie of the Year.
His partner, Dale Gerding, was named 2003 MTRA Rookie of the Year.
While he loves the competition of monster truck racing, Noelke, an electrician, said it is the fans that also attract him to the sport. “We do this because we love the fans, particularly the children. Kids worship these trucks, and we brighten their day when we come to town.”
Although there is purse money to be won in many of the monster truck series, it by no means covers the expenses in building and maintaining one of the big machines. Product and other sponsors help offset some of the costs for monster truck owners.
To build one of the mammoth trucks can cost more than $150,000, and then a semi-truck to haul it will be another $300,000 to $400,000 expense, said Noelke. Maintenance costs during and after races can run into the thousands of dollars, as well. “It depends on what you break during a race as to how much it can cost,” he said. “When you decide to enter this sport, it is a serious deal.”
At the August Indy Car race at the Kentucky Speedway, Noelke brought his truck, Tail Gator, to help promote the upcoming MLMT event. It attracted hundreds of fans, many of whom posed for photographs in front of it.
“I think every person that came through those gates talked to us,” he said. “People simply love monster trucks and are excited to see them.”
Froome believes the new monster truck race at the Kentucky Speedway will be a winning situation for everyone involved. “It will help attract new race fans to the speedway and be another great event for families to attend,” he said. “We believe the Kentucky Speedway will be a jewel in our series."

• For more information about the Major League of Monster Trucks event at the Kentucky Speedway visit: www.kentuckyspeedway.com or www.MLMT.com.

Back to 2007 Kentucky Speedway Articles.



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