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#PTOTY20 – Mea Culpa

The Culprit Presents His Case

Chad Kirchner
Oct 25, 2019
It was me. I am Spartacus.
I didn't go into the last day of testing for Truck Trend's Pickup Truck of the Year with the goal of damaging a pickup. During the morning briefing I even thought to myself that I'm not the one that the team needs to be worried about. Apparently, that couldn't be farther from the truth.
Our day of testing at the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area was to highlight how well the trucks performed off-road. While this type of off-roading might be more intense than what must truck buyers will experience, pushing the trucks to their limits helps identify weaknesses and verify whether that manufacturer claims of off-road capability are legit.
Photo 2/4   |   Ttptoty Daily Recap Day 5 08
Early in the morning I climbed into the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 with the CarbonPro package and the fantastic 3.0-liter I-6 turbodiesel and headed out onto the course. I was following a colleague in the new 2020 Ford Super Duty Limited and was paying more attention to his line than my own.
That's why I didn't see the giant rock jump out from the driver's side of the truck and lodge itself into the running boards on the AT4. The loud crash of the impact was only dwarfed in the cabin by the expletive that I yelled when I realized what I had done.
Photo 3/4   |   PTOTY20 Mea Culpa At4
I attempted to dislodge the truck from the rock without causing any more damage, but it just wasn't possible. When the truck was clear, the running board was still hanging on for dear life. Adding insult to injury, when I put some force on it to see if it was still attached, it fell to the ground.
The six bolts holding the running board to the side of the truck were sheared off, thanks to the impact. The rock also had damage, so at least the truck was able to get some revenge on the rock that attacked it.
Photo 4/4   |   PTOTY20 Mea Culpa
There are two lessons that I took away from this. The first is that you should always pay attention when you are off-roading. Use the truck's cameras and even a spotter if you need to. But also, make sure you remove your running boards before hitting the trail. Or you might just end up like I did.