Seven teams of food truck owners start The Great Food Truck Race selling their signature dishes on the Santa Monica Pier. They then embark down historic Route 66, stopping in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for their first Truck Stop Cooking Challenge: The first team to sell 20 orders of their twist on Fish and Chips will get a bonus that might be enough to keep them safe from elimination.
Before the six remaining teams make it to Flagstaff, Ariz., Tyler Florence calls them up to let them know that their first challenge is underway: The team who sells the most in Flagstaff will get a one-hour head start to their next stop, Sedona, Ariz. In Sedona, the teams must make a dish incorporating the local delicacy, rattlesnake/rabbit sausage, and leave the comfort of their trucks to sell from Pink Jeeps.
In Santa Fe, N.M., Tyler Florence challenges the five teams to use peppers to create the ultimate spicy Sante Fe meal. The hot challenge comes with a hot $1,000 prize. Then, the teams must put their planning skills to the test, as they only have one hour to shop for the entire weekend. Selling head-to-head at the farmers' market, some teams discover their best laid plans are their worst enemies.
In Amarillo, Texas, the final four teams are in for a steak-filled day: The seed money is determined by a steak-eating contest, and all the teams must add a steak dish to their menu. The team to sell the most of their steak dishes earns $500, as will the team with the best tasting dish. Prior to elimination, Tyler Florence makes each team send two members to pick up essentials, leaving their chances at the top three in the hands of their remaining teammate.
When the top three teams arrive in Tulsa, Tyler Florence takes away their phones and internet abilities: All of their research, outreach, marketing and navigation have to be done the old-fashioned way. He then challenges them to build roadside attractions to pull in customers. On their second day, the teams sell at one of the last drive-ins on Route 66. They race from car to car, knowing that each lost sale could be the one that sends them home.
The two remaining teams arrive in St. Louis, ready for their final big sell. Tyler Florence challenges the teams to create three different dishes in 30 minutes to serve to two of the most renowned grill chefs in St. Louis, with the winner getting a valuable head start on the finale weekend. On their way to the Chicago showdown, they hit Springfield, Ill., for a Lincoln-themed sale. Once in Chicago, the teams have to hit three different ethnic neighborhoods with three different ethnic dishes. The team that first sells 50 dishes in each location will be crowned the champion of the Great Food Truck Race and drive away $50,000 richer.