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Great Lakes Big Rig Challenge Returns to Onaway Speedway for Fifth Year

The 2023 Great Lakes Big Rig Challenge is getting ready to roll into Onaway Speedway in Onaway, Michigan, May 26-28.

Packed with horsepower and copious amounts of black billowing smoke, fans are in for a treat as they watch two types of heads-up drag racing this Memorial Day weekend. Big Rig Challenge event promotor Mike Sturgill explained more about the Quebec-style uphill side-by-side Semi Truck drag racing.

“Two trucks that are loaded with trailers drag race. It’s a Christmas tree, and then the first one to the start line wins,” explained Sturgill. “They pull loaded trailers that are 120,000 pounds, and with the truck, it’s about 140,000 pounds. We also do bobtail; that’s just the truck and no trailer.”

“They’ll get a stage light, and then the starter will give them both thumbs up,” continued Sturgill. “Then the starter holds the starting button behind his back and starts the race.” The rigs without the trailer will race to 550 feet, and those with the trailer will pull trailers loaded with lumber to 700 feet to cross the finish line first.”

As a matter of fact, Onaway Speedway built a 700-foot-long uphill drag strip specifically for Big Rig Racing. Though relatively new to the United States, Big Rig Racing has been in Québec, Canada, for over three decades.

“It’s just a great time, especially if you’ve never seen truck racing,” said Sturgill. “It’s pretty affordable – $40 for the three days.”

The Big Rig Challenge follows a double-elimination format, and Sturgill explained that there will be around 550 to 600 races throughout the weekend. “It’s solid racing for al- most three days,” he said. “Plus, it’s a $100,000 payout divided amongst the top finish- ers.”

In addition to the adrenaline-filled action on the track, there will be a midway filled with vendors, a kid area and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. There will also be a truck show and a parade through town, followed by a fireworks show on Saturday night. To purchase tickets, visit 

The event will be streamed live on FloRacing on May 27 and 28. If you’re not already a FloRacing subscriber, click here to sign up today. 

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STREAMING: Watch the 2023 Great Lakes Big Rig Challenge on FloRacing.

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.