For a Midwesterner, very little beats an early spring retreat to a warmer climate. I could go on about fond memories of spring breaks spent in Panama City Beach in the Florida panhandle, South Padre Island in Texas, or even Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but that would just show my age and leave me wishing my hair wasn’t graying so quickly. But I digress…
An early April trip to the Arizona desert for the 2021 western swing of the Pro Touring Truck Shootout was just what we were looking for. A chance to get away, see our buds, look at some trucks, and soak up some sun. As soon as our Uber chauffeur delivered us from the Phoenix airport to the pits of Wild Horse Pass Raceway in Chandler, we knew we were in for a weekend of bad assery and good times.
As we said farewell to Chaz, our Prius limo driver, and began our walk through the pits, we quickly stumbled upon the one and only Arnie Gonzalez. Arnie is the face, voice, and founding father behind the Pro Touring Truck Shootout movement. Together with a few other choice players, he has put together a next-level event aimed toward elevating the performance level of the popular, and wildly expanding truck community to the moon and beyond. Kinda like Dogecoin, but with tangible sheetmetal, fuel, and horsepower. PTTS is a series of events aimed at the wide appeal of its participants, with an end goal of engaging the vehicle owners and providing them a safe platform and arena where they can test the limits of their very own truck. The event is open to basically any driver with basic skills and safety equipment, and any truck that can pass a basic competition tech inspection. Trucks are broken down into different classes based upon their performance level and abilities to provide a more level playing field and keep competition levels high.
The performance-related sub-events include time-based challenges on an autocross course, as well as a stop-and-go challenge. Road course lap times and a driveability cruise also factor into the overall score of trucks competing.
Watching some of the high horsepower, outlaw-style trucks like Jimmy Bullard’s MRC Fab squarebody and Kevin Phillips’ Level 7 Motorsports-refined monster S10 push through the turns was enough to make me want to spend my Shiba proceeds on a race truck of my own. The sound, smell, and visual of it all is intensely intoxicating and I can’t wait for the next event.
With all of the race action happening on-track, there was plenty to see off-track, as well. GSI Machine and Fabrication hosted cruise-in parties at their shop on both Friday and Saturday evenings. The Phoenix area is bursting at the seams with bitchin trucks, and the hardware was out in full force in both the show area at the track as well as at the after hours events.
Our trip to Phoenix also gave us the opportunity to catch up with our friends at Tre 5 Customs, Arizona High Test, Home Grown Rides, Big 10 Garage, and some of our other homies like Dino, Ronnie, and Brian from GrinderTV on their home turf. Make no mistake, PHX has it going on.
What can we expect from the future of PTTS? The sky’s the limit, but Arnie assures us that this event was a giant stepping stone on the path to bigger, more defined events in the years to come. We are excited to see what happens next, and we’ll be there to cover the action.