We pulled into Firebird Raceway just outside of Phoenix, parked, and headed into the race complex. We passed the smell of burning rubber and race gas exhaust and kept moving. We passed the new vehicle test track and kept moving. We passed the shiny show trucks, jacked trucks, lowered trucks, 24s, euro taillights, shiny bling, and kept moving.
We had our sights on what lay beyond and behind the big grandstands. As our nostrils finally started to clear of the scent of Armor-All and coconut air fresheners, it was quickly replaced by something more inviting - dust.
We had come here to find the dirt courses and the tough truck competition at the 2005 Tire Pros Truckin' & 4x4 Aftermarket Expo. The event, held in October each year, draws fans from Arizona and neighboring Southwest states. Numerous vendors always attend and there is a wide variety of vehicles and competitions to entertain the entire family.
Our interest was almost purely targeted at the action on the dirt where Firebird had set up three timed, tough truck courses for the competition event. Courses included an obstacle course, tire pit/log pile run, and a rock pile crawl.
With vehicles ranging from daily street trucks to tube buggy rockcrawlers to prerunner race rigs, the obstacle course proved to be an interesting challenge. The timed layout included a number of tight turns, berms, and jumps, all laid out on a loose dirt track. Competition was lively with a few rollovers and the usual tough truck carnage, including several broken axle housings. The pits, piles, and rocks offered plenty of entertainment as well.
Take a look at what we saw at this year's event and you may decide to attend or run your own rig on the competition courses next year. To find out more about the event, check out www.firebirdraceway.com.