It’s not for the faint of heart. If going fast isn’t fun, it’s not for you. This is THROWDOWN, where the best performance truck builders and drivers come to put up or shut up. Last year, we showed you our inaugural event, which was really just a bunch of truck guys pushing their trucks to their limits and hanging out, but we had such an overwhelming response to the coverage, we opened the invite to anyone who was willing to bring a truck to SoCal for the shootout. What we found was, truck guys are tired of doing the same old thing at truck shows and just getting a $3.00 trophy on Sunday after cleaning all weekend long. They want to get out and enjoy their hard work by driving their pride and joy. It makes perfect sense to us, and we’re looking forward to truck performance events popping up all over the country.
When we think performance and trucks, Stillen instantly pops into our minds as they’ve brought their winning race heritage to the custom truck world in a big way. From AP Racing big brakes, to superchargers, to even everyday bolt-ons, Stillen has the world of performance trucks covered, and when we told them about our truck shootout, it was a natural fit. Going fast is something they understand, and we’re excited to have them on our team.
Truck guys are a unique breed. We like to use our trucks for everything from work, to recreational use, to, in our case, doing things the original engineers could have never envisioned. Truck guys are also loyal to each other, almost to the point if your custom ride has a bed, then you’re in the truck fraternity. With that said, this was a competition and there could only be one winner. We had participants of all skill levels, from beginners who had never been on a track before to several guys who compete in autocross events on a weekly basis. We also had trucks and SUVs of all shapes, sizes, and eras with the most prominent truck being a late-model Chevrolet Silverado, which surprised no one. What did surprise us was how much better the trucks who competed in last year’s event had gotten over a one-year period. These guys weren’t joking around, they were in it to win it. We were also thrilled to have a family drive all the way from New Jersey to compete, and they drove home after the shootout.
We started the event with a quick driver’s meeting, it was then time to stop talking and start smashing the throttle. THROWDOWN’s first competition was a 600-foot slalom course that tested both body roll and steering response, but also each driver’s ability. Next up, tires were at the mercy of giant burnouts and hard shifting as each driver blasted their truck down the quarter-mile. With the trucks cooled off from several hard launches down the track, each driver was asked to go from a dead stop to full speed, then slam the brakes after 600 feet and try to stop within a predetermined box of cones. Fastest time without killing any cones wins. Once the blood rushed back into our brains, it was time to cruise over to the autocross track, which was actually a modified version of the 2.25-mile road course that the popular TV show Top Gear uses in their “Big Star in a Small Car” segment. The course offered hard right and left turns with a sweeping right turn that allowed trucks to drift around, and it also featured a bus stop where trucks quickly dip right to left. It was an absolute blast and everyone wanted to spend hours whipping around the course. In addition to nine trucks competing, we invited Super Trucks Inc. to bring out their Super Truck race truck for a real eye-opening experience. This truck was purpose-built to handle business and it’s insanely fast. With professional driver Nathan Swartzbaugh, from Orange County Racecraft, behind the wheel, no one even came close to its level of performance. THROWDOWN concluded with the Truckin’ editors giving each truck a maximum five points for subjective styling. Every other event was also worth a maximum of five points. The maximum score for the event was 30 points. Enough with the particulars, let’s show you the action.