Driv­ers to show abil­i­ties on His­tory Chan­nel’s ‘Truck Night In Amer­ica’

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Kristi Garabrandt kgarabrandt@news-her­ @Kris­ti_G_1223 on Twit­ter

It’s been a long bumpy road for Painesville res­i­dent Mark Grice to get from re­build­ing his truck at home to com­pet­ing in His­tory Chan­nel’s “Truck Night In Amer­ica.”

While on Face­book one day in early 2017 he came across a post that started him on his off-road jour­ney.

He saw that the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel was do­ing a cast­ing for “Gas Mon­key Garage (Fast and Loud)” and de­cided to sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Aaron Kauf­man left the show

and ba­si­cally I thought I was in the po­si­tion to fill his po­si­tion so I put in for that,” Grice said. “The next thing you know I get a phone call say­ing ‘hey, are you in­ter­ested in do­ing a truck show.’ ”

Grice re­sponded to the caller by say­ing, “well ob­vi­ously I didn’t get the Aaron Kauf­man deal.”

He was told no, but they were in­ter­ested in him for a new truck show, and he agreed to in­ter­view for that.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view, he was asked if he had a truck and Grice told them he had a cool truck, a blue 2004 crew cab du­ally which he put a lot of work­ing into re­pair­ing af­ter he was hit al­most head-on about three years ago.

Ac­cord­ing to Grice, time passed and af­ter a cou­ple of months of not hear­ing from the show, they called him and asked if he was still in­ter­ested in do­ing the truck show. He said he was but was con­cerned about the film­ing sched­ule as he was set to have surgery and would be re­cov­er­ing for a while.

“I had the surgery and I had com­pli­ca­tions from the surgery and al­most died,” Grice said. “But luck­ily I bounced back from that and got in con­tact with them again and they started giv­ing me more in­for­ma­tion about

“It’s like a big kids’ play­ground. You do a bunch of chal­lenges that you wouldn’t think you would do with a truck or a Jeep. You go out and do it and have fun. That was the main premise that I took away from this.”

— Painesville res­i­dent Mark Grice

the show.”

Ac­cord­ing to the show’s web­site, 50 truck­ers from across the coun­try will com­pete five per show for 10 episodes in their own per­sonal cus­tom­ized trucks and jeeps com­plet­ing chal­lenges with driv­ers demon­strat­ing the speed, strength and their han­dling abil­i­ties on an off-road ob­sta­cle course. Top prize is $10,000.

Once Grice found out that it was go­ing to be an off-road show with mud and chal­lenges he de­cided he wasn’t us­ing the blue truck, he would opt to use an­other one he had come by.

“I’m like ‘you ain’t get­ting the good one, you’re get­ting what­ever I make out of this one,’ ” Grice said “They said that was fine, we are go­ing to get truck re­quire­ments to­gether and go from there.”

Grice who is orig­i­nally from East­lake, moved to Painesville about eight years ago where he works in a col­li­sion shop while try­ing to open his own re­pair shop with his fa­ther John. Grice took the truck he had bought off a friend and fixed up.

“He got the truck from

some­where in Penn­syl­va­nia where I guess it had been sit­ting in a field in not run­ning for three years so it be­came a mouse ho­tel,” he said.

Ap­pro­pri­ately the truck was named “Rats Nest.”

Ac­cord­ing to Grice, the film­ing for his episode wasn’t sched­uled to take place un­til Septem­ber, but he got a call say­ing there had been a change in the sched­ule and his episode was due to be filmed in Au­gust, giv­ing him and his fa­ther only three weeks to re­build his truck.

The truck was ac­tu­ally com­pleted on the day he and his brother Matthew left for Ge­or­gia.

Grice said his fam­ily and friends didn’t ac­tu­ally think the truck would get done, much less make the trip or be able to com­pete.

“No one had faith in this truck,” he said. “Every­one knocked that truck.”

Grice had to stop three times dur­ing the 800-mile trip to make re­pairs to the truck as he had no time to road test it be­fore they left.

“We made it down to the film­ing and we did the show,” he said.

“It’s kind of cool. No one has ever done a show like this and this is why I chose to do some­thing like this,” Grice said “The off-road com­mu­nity, they re­ally like it. It’s a big fam­ily group, a

lot tighter than a lot of the other car groups, which is cool.”

Grice de­scribes his ex­pe­ri­ence with the show as a blast.

“It’s like a big kids’ play­ground,” he said. “You do a bunch of chal­lenges that you wouldn’t think you would do with a truck or a Jeep. You go out and do it and have fun. That was the main premise that I took away from this.”

This is Grice’s first time off-road­ing a truck — most of his off road ex­pe­ri­ence has been with ATVs — so he saw him­self as the un­der­dog in the com­pe­ti­tion go­ing against peo­ple with mas­sive off-road­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I’m go­ing out as an un­der­dog, but ba­si­cally if there is a will there is a way so don’t ever count any­one out. It’s just one of them types of sto­ries,” he said. “That’s what I thought mine was, it was one ul­ti­mate ad­ven­ture.”

Grice said he would do it again in a heartbeat and all the work and ef­fort is worth it, and whether he wins the fi­nal prize or not, he def­i­nitely drives off with brag­ging rights.

“Truck Night in Amer­ica” pre­miered on March 8. Grice com­petes in the March 15 episode air­ing at 10 p.m. on the His­tory Chan­nel.


Painesville res­i­dent Mark Grice com­petes with his 1996 Ford-250 diesel on the His­tory Chan­nel’s “Truck Night In Amer­ica” air­ing at 10 p.m. March 15 on the His­tory Chan­nel.

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