Do We Need The Toterhome Rig And Stacker Trailer?

Colton Horner, Facebook ColtonHorner_Hauler.jpg

By Jonathon Masters

When I was growing up in the racing industry in the late 1980s and mid-1990s, the stacker trailer with a toterhome rig was a luxury. As recent as the early 2000s, we were going Summer Nationals with nothing more than a single-car enclosed trailer (or sometimes an open trailer) and a Ford dually. Good equipment and a good driver were all you needed to be successful in dirt racing.

At the time, it was possible to compete at a national level with such basic equipment and more than enough to compete on a regional level. Racing at the local level did not call for much more than open trailer with a tire rack. 

Today, if you go to any local track in America you can see late model or modified racers unloading their cars from a lift gate, two-car, and fully stocked trailer with a toterhome rig to pull it.

Thousands of racers with $150,000-$250,000 mobile race shops are heading to local and regional events each week to race for $1,200-$5,000-to-win events. A lot of racers see it as an unavoidable or necessary expense. What changed?

One factor that played into the rise of the quarter-million-dollar race trailer was the economic times of the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s. It was a very prosperous period for the country and motorsports in general. Everyone was spending more, and that led to the early adopters of the expensive race trailers. Racing has always been a reactionary sport of people not wanting to be outdone, so soon everyone was getting them. 

First, it was a national trend, with Scott Bloomquist, Donnie Moran, and Billy Moyer leading the way. Shortly thereafter, every national racer was paying for his or her mobile race shop and the diesel gasoline that went in it. The $250,000 trailer was here to stay on a national level. Soon tracks that had once allowed infield pitting were struggling with fans not being able to see the backstretch because of the height of the modern racing trailers. 

The regional and local drivers were the next to adapt the mega trailers. One of the trailers would roll in and soon the local track looked like Daytona International Speedway even during smaller events. One would think that it was going to stop here, but there was still more to come.

Today, it is standard practice to have working shock dynos in some trailers. Racers have also put satellite dishes, built-on tire grooving equipment, slide outs in the trailer for added work room, and more bells and whistles in their mobile race fortresses. Some of these trailers and rigs have blasted past that $250,000 mark and into the $400,000 to $500,000 range.  Keep in mind that these trailer and truck prices are based on slightly used haulers and trucks. Those who wish to go new will almost always be in the $400,000 range. The question we have to ask ourselves is if it's worth it.


The cost of racing nationally is around $500,000 if one is starting from the ground up. But how would that change if you were to save some of your costs on a more affordable trailer? Let's be reasonable and keep the trailer for the cars and just use a semi-tractor to haul it. If we buck the toterhome, it would cut around $75,000 off our total. That is enough savings to purchase more than 900 hotel room nights. 

I am not here to question a toterhome's worth to a national team. It's a long season, and the convenience of being able to sleep anywhere and have all your equipment with you when you are hundreds of miles from home is pretty important. However, local and regional drivers need to step back and take a long hard look at these costs and evaluate their needs.

Most local and regional racers have fewer than 20 overnights a year. They are also within 200 miles from home 90 percent of the time. Imagine how much more you could invest in your racing program by not dedicating $150,000-$250,000 on your truck and trailer. Your shock program, engine program, and more could all benefit by trading in your mega trailer for a single-car enclosed trailer and that dually that you probably already own.

Local and regional warriors need to ask themselves, "Is it more important for me to look good getting to the track or looking good on the track?" 

- Jonathon Masters has a lifelong connection with dirt racing. His family has owned and operated MasterSbilt Race Cars manufacturing dirt late model chassis for 35 years. He attended college in North Carolina for motor sports management and has written for various industry publications. Jonathon was an account executive at The International Motorsports Industry Show, founder of the Heartland Auto Racing Show, and has been a racing industry professional for over a decade. 

Exclusive Content 

Weekly Columns by Jonathon Masters

What It Takes To Succeed In Racing: Part 1, Equipment | Part 2, Crew | Part 3, Driver
Eldora's Party On The Hill
The Rise Of IMIS
The Making of a Crown Jewel
Steve Casebolt Moves to Jim Beeman Motorsports

Weekly Columns by JD Hellman

Dale Jr. Snaps Winless Streaks At Michigan
Welcome to the Bigs Bubba
Dover International Speedway Has Some Monster Storylines
Daniel Suarez Translates Opportunity Into Success
For Ryan Blaney The Future Is Now And It's A Bright One

Making The Switch: Max McGhee Transitions To Winged Sprint Car Racing

Paul Arch Paul Arch Photo 2.jpg

By Tony Veneziano

Kenny Wallace: East Bay Winter Nationals Are 'Signal That Racing Has Begun'

© Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports USATSI_6067292_168383134_lowres.jpg

Few drivers across the world of motorsports possess the charisma and personality of Kenny Wallace. He’s a racer’s racer who’s done everything from NASCAR to local modified events.

Promoter Al Varnadore Talks East Bay Winter Nationals

YouTube eastbay.jpg

Next week the East Bay Winter Nationals will begin its 42nd year of kicking off the dirt racing season in Gibsonton, FL. 

10 Reasons Why Dirt Racing Loves East Bay Raceway Park: 5-1

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 4.27.38 PM.png

The snow and ice may be falling up north, but things are getting ready to heat up in the Tampa Bay area.

10 Reasons Why Dirt Racing Loves East Bay Raceway Park: 10-6

20180115_East Bay Top 10.jpg

The January snows are drifting in the Midwest and the Northeast is a snowbound tundra. The icy grip of winter has a firm hold on the northern two-thirds of the United States. It is during this time of year, when winter is bearing down hard, that we all look south to see the first glimmers of light at the end of the cold gloomy tunnel.

Spencer Bayston Dominated USAC To Claim A Flo50 Spot

@SpecerBayston, Twitter 20180115_SpecerBayston-twitter.jpg

Spencer Bayston was an all-or-nothing driver in 2017, but fortunately for his ranking in the Flo50 list of the Greatest Dirt Track Drivers, the “alls” greatly outweighed the “nothings.”

Brandon Sheppard Finally Wins A Wild West Race In The Finale

@B-Sheppard_B5a 280115_Brandon Sheppard.jpg

Brandon Sheppard got glimpses of the front of the field for most of the Wild West Shootout, but he was forced to watch someone else go to Victory Lane — that is, until Sunday night. 

When Kyle Bronson Gets To East Bay For Winter Nationals, His Goal Is To Win

@KBM40B 20180114_Kyle Bronson_-KBM40B.jpg

Kyle Bronson will have to keep up with the action live on FloRacing as he misses the first three nights of next week's Winter Nationals at East Bay Raceway in Gibsonton, FL, but he will try to steal the show during the Saturday night finale on Jan. 27.

Ricky Weiss Goes Back To Victory Lane In Night 5 Of The Wild West Shootout 20180114_Ricky Weiss_WildWestShootout-net.jpg

Ricky Weiss won the opening night of the Wild West Shootout and was on his way to a second win in Night 2 when he was knocked out of the lead by Bobby Pierce. He was forced to wait a week before returning to the hallowed ground, but he dominated night five at Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley.

Christopher Bell Earns Back-To-Back Chili Bowls

Joe Orth, Chili Bowl 20180114_Joe Orth Chili Bowl.jpg

Christopher Bell joined Rico Abreu and Kevin Swindell as drivers who have won consecutive Chili Bowls when he rolled into the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, OK Saturday night. Abreu won in 2015/2016; Swindell was victorious for four years from 2010-2013. Bell’s late-race pass on Kyle Larson came after his NASCAR colleague experienced mechanical problems, making it a bitter sweet win for the Oklahoma native.