Summit Racing launched its inaugural Truckfest in September of 1997, and the response was so overwhelmingly positive that it was only natural for the company to hold another Truckfest in 2001. Of course Summits brain trust couldve used the formula of the previous year, and doing so probably wouldve been successful. Instead, the folks at Summit tweaked and modified the show as one would tweak and modify a big ol V-8 engine in order to generate more horsepower. The result was a wildly successful one-day 2001 Truckfest that drew hundreds of trucks to the companys corporate headquarters in Tallmadge, Ohio. The show featured a collection of hands-on driving events, aftermarket manufacturers, and a huge show-and-shine.
If youre the kind of person who cant deal with sitting around idle, the Summit Truckfest has your name written all over it. Organizers created an area filled with hands-on driving activities that included an RTI ramp, a balance beam, a chassis dynamometer, and a huge Mini-Rubicon.
The dual-lane Mini-Rubicon was festooned with railroad-ties and strewn with rock, all of this accomplished by trucking in more than 10 tractor-trailer loads of boulders, and it was the centerpiece of the area. It consumed almost all of the formerly picture-perfect front lawn of Summit Racing, and more than 70 trucks challenged the course throughout the day. The course offered both easy and difficult lanes, so vehicles at all levels of modification, and drivers at all levels of skill, had the opportunity to crawl rocks and battle obstacles. And while there was no formal rockcrawling competition, Tim Zurowski of Superwinch (Superwinch was one of the sponsors of the Mini-Rubicon) awarded a brand-new Superwinch S9000 winch to the driver who seemed to most easily glide his truck over the rocks.
The parking lot of the Summit Racing headquarters was turned into a giant truck show, and that drew more than 350 trucks. A number of these were four-wheel-drive trucks, and they ranged from full-on show trucks to gnarly, trail-ready machines to daily drivers. The show-and-shine area quickly outgrew the Summit parking lot in the early morning, and participant rigs soon inundated every available parking area. We saw many unusual rigstrucks like Don Peiffers dual-carbureted, big-block 78 Chevy dump truck, and Kevin Samarigans 56 Ford F-600 with original Marmon-Herrington four-wheel-drive conversion. There were also some rigs sporting wildly creative mods. These included trucks like Dan Renovetzs 70 Chevy 3500, which sports a 212ci Detroit Diesel engine and dual Spicer transmissions. Throughout the day, Summit judges scored the show-and-shine vehicles, and the winners were awarded trophies at the events closing ceremonies.
When Summit Racing throws a party everyone wants to attend, and that includes the scores of aftermarket suppliers whose products Summit carries. It was manufacturer mania in the Manufacturers Midway, and the lineup of vendors included Skyjacker, B&M, Ramsey Winch, Dynomax, Holley, Superwinch, MTX Audio, Pro Comp, Rancho, and many more. Inside a huge tent there were even more vendors, including Bushwacker, Air Lift, Optima, Fabtech, Tekstyle, Bestop, Westin, McGard, Smittybilt, Lund Industries, and Auto Ventshade. All of the vendors had staff on hand to answer product and application questions, and many brought along gift certificates that were distributed throughout the day-long show by the Truckfest Master Of Ceremonies.
All in all, Summit Racing managed to achieve the difficult task of successfully improving on an existing idea, and the 2001 event undoubtedly will act as a pattern for the companys much-anticipated 2002 Truckfest, when trucks once again will take over the corporate headquarters for a one-day stand. For more info on next years event, contact Scott Becker at Summit Racing, 330/630-5342, or visit the Summit Racing Web site, www.summitracing.com.