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TNT Motorsports was a popular promoter of monster truck races, tractor pulls, and occasionally mud racing in the 1980s. Events were shown on Powertrax on ESPN, Trucks and Tractor Power on TNN and the syndicated Tuff Trax.
TNT's truck and tractor pulling championship was sponsored by Red Man smokeless tobacco. Champions were crowned in the four-wheel drive truck, two-wheel drive truck, unlimited tractor, super stock tractor, and pro stock tractor divisions. Notable pullers were "The Professor" Dr. Wayne Rausch with his "Yellow Model T" and "Little Red Truck" two-wheel drives, "Full Pull" Pat Freels' "Cheers" t-bucket two wheel drive and "Dollar Devil" modified tractor, the Banter Brothers' several unlimited tractors, Tim Engler's "Mission Impossible" unlimited tractor, and the "Stitches" team of trucks owned by Jim Lyons.
Renegades tobacco sponsored the Monster Truck Challenge series, which became a championship (the first monster truck racing championship ever) in 1988. Bigfoot, USA-1, Awesome Kong, Equalizer, Carolina Crusher, Night Life, and King Krunch were among the most competitive trucks, while Dennis Anderson and Grave Digger became the most popular truck on the circuit, sending them to eventual superstardom.
Only a handful of events would feature Pro Modified Mud Bog Racing.
Champions on the Renegades Monster Truck Challenge:
Rod Litzau and USA-1 take the championship in the last event of the year over Bigfoot in Freedom Hall in Louisville, KY. While racing Bigfoot, USA-1 flipped and broke off its front axle. The truck would flip again many times over the next 2 years.
Rookie David Morris and Equalizer beat out Gary Porter's Carolina Crusher for the championship. This was the biggest points victory in the 3 years the series ran, as the championship basically wrapped up for Equalizer entering the final event at Freedom Hall. Equalizer was the first truck on the series to use coilover shocks as opposed to the leaf-spring suspension systems used on other trucks at the time. The new suspension system gave each wheel more independence and the truck was able to minimize bouncing as a result. USA-1 was still the fastest truck in the series in 1989, and was nearly unbeatable on long straight courses- the exception being when the truck flipped. USA-1 flipped multiple times during the 1989 season which kept the truck out of the points race as it had to take many races off for repairs. Carolina Crusher on the other hand was the most consistent truck in 1989, almost always making it to the semi-finals or finals.
After taking off 1989 to develop a new truck, Team Bigfoot came out for 1990 in controversial fashion in Bigfoot 8. The new tube frame truck (a first in monster truck racing) featured a suspension system that gave it roughly 2 feet of suspension travel and was the lightest (10,000 lbs.) truck on the circuit (although Jack Willman's Taurus ran for a couple races on the circuit at 9,000 lbs.) Due to its dominance on the circuit, it was banned for a period of time to give the other trucks a chance to catch up. During this ban, Bigfoot 4 (built in 1984) ran in its place. It was a two-truck points race for most of the year between Bigfoot and Equalizer, although Carolina Crusher and Scott Stephens' King Krunch pulled somewhat close at times midway through the season.
In late 1990, TNT was bought out by SRO/Pace, the promoter who at the time owned the competitor United States Hot Rod Association sanctioning body, and all former TNT events became USHRA events. Most vehicles continued to compete in the USHRA, however some monster truck owners, notable Everett Jasmer of USA-1, did not as they wished to only compete in open-qualifying races (as TNT was) rather than invitation-only events.