Truck racing is a form of motorsport road racing which involves modified versions of heavy tractor units on road racing or oval track circuits.
The sport started in the United States at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 17, 1979 and was the opening scene in the movie Smokey and the Bandit II. As a sanctioned sport it began as ATRA (American Truck Racing Association) in 1979 then was sold to N. Linn Henndershott in 1982 and it became the Great American Truck Racing circuit. The races were run on dirt and paved ovals mostly in the Eastern United States. The trucks used in the beginning were actually working trucks with tandem rear axles and used street tires yet still attained speeds of 150 mph (241 km/h) on the front straight at Pocono Raceway and set the closed course record of 132 mph (212 km/h) in qualifying at Texas World Speedway by Charlie Baker on March 21, 1982.
After 1986 when the series was bought by Glenn Donnelly of DIRT (Drivers Independent Race Tracks) the GATR trucks became highly modified with the bodies being cut and lowered, losing the tag axle and shedding more than 2,000 pounds in weight. The last sanctioned GATR race in the US was in July 1993 at Rolling Wheels NY.
The FIA European Truck Racing Championship was created in 1985.
In Brazil, the Fórmula Truck has been held since 1996, featuring several factory teams.[needs update]
The Minimizer Bandit Big Rig Series debuted in the United States in 2017, giving America its first truck race series since GATR in 1993.
Maximum race speed is restricted to 160 km/h (100 mph) for safety reasons, and a minimum weight limit is 5500 kg. Races start from a rolling start, and commonly races last from 8 to 12 laps. Although a non contact sport, due to the physical size, and closeness of trucks to one another during races, minor collisions can often occur. However, injuries to drivers are very rare.
Unlike other forms of motor sport aside from touring car racing, race trucks look like their road-going counterparts and conform to regulations to ensure that major components used are the same.
Mexico also started its own truck racing version called Tractocamiones, which ran from 1992 to 2000 and was revived in 2015. Notable international drivers that have raced in the series include former Champ Car race winner Michel Jourdain Jr., former F1 driver Allen Berg, Indy 500 Rookie of the year Bernard Jourdain, the late Carlos Pardo, Rubén Pardo, Jorge Goeters, Carlos Contreras and Jimmy Morales among others.