If you happened to watch the 142nd Kentucky Derby this weekend (or if you were lucky enough to be at Churchill Downs), you probably saw Ram Truck’s logo several times. This wasn’t much of a surprise, as the pickup was named the “Official Truck” and the exclusive automotive partner of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
The brand’s vehicles were on full display at the race, although there was one notable absentee from the event: the 2016 Ram 2500. The impressive pickup truck truly represents the Kentucky Derby thanks to its unique combination of power and style, making it a curious omission. We’ll explain why the vehicle should have been featured at Churchill Downs (warning: there will be many horse analogies), but let’s first explore the brand’s relationship with the legendary race and venue…
Ram and Churchill Downs – Kentucky Derby
As part of the brand’s “Dominate the Field” endeavor, Ram wanted to captivate fans via “on-site truck displays, video board integrations, backcountry and trackside signage throughout Churchill Downs, branding on gate crew staff uniforms and on the clothing of a few jockeys.” Television ads were played throughout the NBC broadcast, and the brand even posted a behind-the-scenes video to their website and social media accounts.
Most significantly, a pair of Ram ProMaster’s transported the legendary “Garland of Roses” (the floral piece that’s placed around the winning horse) from the Kroger grocery store all the way to Churchill Downs. This process was also broadcast live on Ram’s Facebook page. Clearly, the brand was pulling out all of the stops for the event.
“Ram trucks are the perfect match for horse owners, trainers and handlers, and being associated with America’s premiere racing events is a great way to illustrate our support for these customers,” said Mike Manley, the Head of Ram Brand. “With best-in-class towing of 31,210 pounds, best-in-class payload of 7,390 pounds, and best-in-class torque at 900 lb.-ft., plus a wide-range of special features including trailer tow technologies, Ram has the most capable trucks on the market to make the lives of horse people easier and safer for towing their horses.”
Those at Churchill Downs may have noticed the trio of Ram trucks on display – the Ram 1500 Crew Cab Rebel, Ram 1500 Limited Crew Cab, 3500 Limited Dually – as well as an assortment of signs and video messages displayed on the track’s “Big Board.” It was impossible to be at the event (or watch the race on TV) without seeing some advertisement for Ram trucks.
However, there was one notable absentee from the event: the Ram 2500. The pickup was an especially notable exclusion, as it probably best exemplifies the traits that the Triple Crown embodies: power and class. These are the two attributes that separate the pickup from the rest of the class. While we may not have an explanation for the 2500’s absence, we can at least explain why the pickup should have been showcased.
Power and Performance
Nyquist, the winning horse at this past weekend’s Kentucky Derby, finished the course in a time of 2:01.31, the fastest time since 2003 and the third best time in the race’s entire history. That dominating performance obviously has to be attributed to the horse’s incredible power and speed.
You probably know where this is going. Each of the Ram 2500’s three engine options provides incredible horsepower and torque, meaning you can be operating the mightiest ride on your own personal course (or, rather, the highway). The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine (383 horsepower, 400 pounds-feet of torque), 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine (410 horsepower, 429 pounds-feet of torque), and the incredible 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine (370 horsepower, 800 pounds-feet of torque, resulting in a best-in-class 17,980-pound maximum towing capability) each provide an astonishing amount of power. Plus, thanks to several technologies (like the Variable Valve Timing), the pickup’s fuel economy isn’t completely compromised. While Nyquist was only able to race for just over two minutes, you’ll be able to drive for hours in your Ram 2500.
The impressive mechanical attributes (and the underwhelming horse analogies) don’t end there. These engines are accompanied by several impressive suspension systems, which help to provide drivers with an unmatched driving experience. Plus, those towing specs can be accentuated with the various available features, like the Trailer Harness Connector, the Tow/Haul Mode Select, and the Heavy-Duty Hooks.
Classy Exterior and Interior
While it certainly isn’t my cup of tea, the elaborate suits, dresses, and (of course) hats worn at Churchill Downs are generally considered “stylish.” Considering the exterior and interior beauty of the Ram 2500, the pickup would seem like a natural choice to display to these wealthy folks.
The chiseled exterior of the Ram 2500 certainly helps drive home all of the power that’s lingering under the hood. The variety of sleek color options (including Brilliant Black, Flame Red, and Bright White) will certainly have other drivers gawking, while the various wheel options (including the 17-inch aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires) will also be admired.
We’re not saying that the affluent are scatter brained, but… they are. To put it in more friendly terms, they’re just preoccupied with their variety of ventures (whether it be horse racing or collecting giant hats). As a result, they may find that they’re always unorganized. The class-exclusive RamBox Cargo Management System will allow the 2500’s owners to keep their valuable equipment and cargo in a lit, secure box. This way, they’ll never struggle to find their preferred tools.
Surprisingly, the interior is just as opulent. The comfortable front and rear seats can be adorned in either a soft-touch cloth or leather upholstery, and based on the chosen trim, drivers can also appreciate the premium wood accents.
The real star of the interior, however, is the Uconnect System. The unit delivers a largest-in-class 8.4-inch touchscreen (there are smaller options available), providing drivers access to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a navigation application, or even several of their phone’s basic capabilities. Via the system, drivers can also utilize the ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera System and the class-exclusive cargo-view camera.
Ram did an excellent job of promoting the brand this past weekend, so we certainly can’t blame the company for not including the Ram 2500 in any of their displays. However, considering the 2500’s incredible power and specs, it may have actually been the perfect nameplate to represent the Kentucky Derby.