Artilce on STS from Truck Trend Magazine
Feature: 454SS Reunion
The 3RD Annual North American Truck Club Sport Truck Shootout
For some, trucks aren't only about looks: Trucks are for going fast! Such is the sentiment of the North American Truck Club (NATC), which put on the Sport Truck Shootout (STS), an annual trucks-only event that focuses primarily on drag-racing power-oriented pickups.
The North American Truck Club is composed of a tightly knit group of Chevrolet 454SS truck owners. The 454SS was the factory truck that started the performance-truck trend, so it was grotting that the NATC would organize the only annual U.S. event that showcases performance trucks.
The first STS was held in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 2001. The 2002 event was bigger and included a truck show on the day of the race, drawing many Chevy 454SS trucks, as well as Ford Lightnings, Dodge Dakota R/Ts, a couple 10-second Chevy S series trucks, and even a few modified diesels.
So what's the attraction to this unique celebration? "It's a day to compete rather than just look at the vehicles," explains Ann-Marie Psotta, an NATC member who helped plan last year's STS. "It's more interesting than the typical truck shows because it's more fun to drag race than polish the truck and let it sit all day."
"I enjoyed getting to race other trucks, not just late-model Mustangs", says Jimmy Thornton, another member. At the local dragstrips, a sport-truck is often ignored in favor of later-model cars. "If you aren't running a Mustang or late model F-body, you don't get a lot of attention. Here, it's all about the trucks."
Eric Barber, a 454SS enthusiast and NATC member, who's attended the last two events, thinks the STS is one truck meet that every sport trucker should attend. "It's a must for enthusiasts. They can't pass up the chance to prove their ride has what it takes, share thoughts with fellow enthusiasts, and just have fun in general," he says. Terry Day, an NATC member with a 12-second SS truck, agrees that the heart of the STS is in the drag racing. "Performance first, looks second--it's a blast, and I hope it continues until I'm too old to care!"
Attendees say the STS is a great learning forum for performance modifications, as well. "We take the aftermarket equipment that not only makes our trucks look good, but makes them run better," says Psotta. "And since each vehicle is different, we get to see what products work best on each application and with other modifications."
In addition, the STS attracts a variety of people of all ages; older generations have been there and done that, and many young folks seem eager to learn. Veteran racers share tips, tricks, modifications, how to launch a truck, and other information on how to make a heavy, slow truck go fast.
Though the heart of the event is the drag racing, that's not all there is to the STS. A show is included during the weekend, where spectators and those who don't want to race can show off their prized rides, yet still attend the U.S.' only truck drag-racing venue. First-, second-, and third-place prizes were awarded in a multitude of classes last year.
The third annual STS promises to be bigger and better than ever. It'll again take place at the Beech Bend raceway park in Bowling Green, with all makes and models of trucks invited to show, race, and compete in any of the weekend's programs. For more information and updates on event timing, visit the NATC's Web site at www.454ss.com or the official site of the STS at www.sporttruckshootout.com. Regular mail contact can be made by sending inquiries to: Sport Truck Shootout Coordinator, 687 Deere St., Welland, Ontario, Canada, L3B 2M2.
Feature: 454SS Reunion
A Day To Remember
By Eric Barber
The day after the Sport Truck Shootout 2002, a small contingent of 454SS North American Truck Club members headed north out of Bowling Green to the build plant that produced all the Chevrolet 454SS trucks (1990 to 1993) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Once at the plant, each member knew that his ride had to look its best to sit in the parking lot of its birthplace and seen by the United Auto Workers Local 2209 (www.local2209.org) on their lunch breaks.
The trucks arrived to a section of the executive parking lot blocked off and waiting for them. Once the trucks were positioned, the detailing began. Inside, the 454SS NATC members were led through an atrium that contained many of the Fort Wayne assembly plant's commemorative vehicles. We were saddened to see not one 454SS among the collection.
We then visited the portion of the line from chassis assembly through final assembly and testing of the current Silverado pickup truck. We must have looked like a bunch of kids in a candy store as we watched the new Chevrolet and GMC trucks being put together. Each member imagined what it must have been like with a row of 454SS trucks on the same assembly line.
As the tour ended, we were already planning another tour of the facility after the next Sport Truck Shootout. The tour would commemorate the 10th anniversary of the last 454SS truck rolling off the production line. As a final request, we asked if they'd mind the addition of some super-heated rubber on their parking lot as we left. Smoke filled the air as the trucks made their runs one by one down the lane toward the exit. The last few drivers had a hard time finding their way out through the thick, gray smoke that hung in the air. For further information, visit www.454SS.com.