Tyler Florence kicks off the race at a cattle ranch outside of Los Angeles, where he welcomes the seven teams with their first challenge. The ranch's cowhands need something to wash down their breakfast, so each team must hand-squeeze a pitcher of orange juice in order to receive their seed money and keys to their truck. The trucks then head out to shop and prep for their first day selling on the busy streets of Los Angeles, but Tyler calls with another challenge: a beef auction where each team has to create an original dish with the cut they win. The team that sells the least is sent home, while the other six head to the next city.
Tyler Florence welcomes the teams to Las Vegas and gives them a challenge using one of the most popular items on Vegas menus: shrimp. Each truck must create their own ultimate shrimp dish to sell on Fremont Street, and the team that makes the most money wins a prime parking spot for selling the next day. Then, Tyler and Las Vegas restaurateur Elizabeth Blau visit the teams to offer business and culinary advice, and the teams sell their signature dishes on the streets of Vegas, with the least successful truck being eliminated.
The trucks travel to Phoenix and meet Tyler Florence at a Sonic Drive-In for a blind taste test and original savory dish challenge inspired by Sonic's signature drinks. One team member is left operating his truck solo when his teammates leave the race, and the day's sales in Phoenix are close, with the top four teams separated by less than $60. At Rawhide Ranch, the truck that made the least money is sent home, and the four remaining teams move forward.
The trucks roll into the Old West town of Yuma, Ariz., and head to the historic Yuma Territorial Prison, which used to house prisoners from all over the Wild West. Tyler Florence gives the teams a relay challenge involving artichokes and bacon, and then they must add an original dish starring those ingredients to their menu and start selling. The residents of Yuma show up in full force, with lines 20 people deep waiting to try the trucks' specialties. After a day of massive sales, one team is eliminated, and the final three trucks head to the next destination.
The final three teams head to the Coachella Valley in Southern California, where thousands of country music fans will soon arrive for a massive festival. Tyler Florence educates the teams on Medjool dates, which are grown in the area, and each team pits a pound of dates and sprints off in their truck. Then Tyler calls with another challenge: Each truck must create and sell an original date dish to be judged by date growers Albert Keck and Melinda Dougherty. Sales spike during the festival, and the race is neck and neck, but only two trucks move on to the finale.