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'The Great Food Truck Race' 2014 episode 2 recap: Tucson finds a new top dog

Celebrity chef Tyler Florence hosts 'The Great Food Truck Race' on the Food Network.
Celebrity chef Tyler Florence hosts 'The Great Food Truck Race' on the Food Network.
Photo by Aaron Davidson

"The Great Food Truck Race" 2014 continued Aug. 24 on the Food Network as the seven remaining teams traveled the Tucson, Ariz. to continue their quest for the grand prize. At the close of the second week of the competition, another trio of talented cooks saw their dream of winning $50,000 and a state of the art food truck disappear.

Show host Tyler Florence met up with the contestants after they arrived in Old Tucson to detail the week's task. After talking briefly about week one's happenings, he revealed that theme of the week: marketing. He gave each team $300, which included $100 that had to be used for marketing purposes. After giving each team a custom flag to advertise their businesses and telling them that they could serve just three items from their menus, he reminded them to keep their phones handy before sending them packing to get to work.

As the contestants headed off to shop for the weekend, they formulated preliminary marketing plans. Madres Mexican Meals called a local television station to arrange coverage and Military Moms hooked up with a local military support organization. The Middle Feast hired a sign-twirler and Let There Be Bacon contacted local food bloggers. The Gourmet Graduates opted to go green, Lone Star Chuck Wagon set up a raffle for an iPod, and Beach Cruiser set up a bikini beach party complete with kiddie pools.

As day one progressed, sales were healthy and lines were long for many of the food trucks, including Bacon, Lone Star, and Military Moms. Only the Gourmet Graduates seemed to struggle, and bickering inside the truck threatened to shutter the doors prematurely, but fortunately they were able to hug it out and continue.

Mid-way through the afternoon, Tyler called them with the Truck Stop Cooking challenge. He told them that they could add a fourth dish, a local favorite called a Sonoran hot dog, and that they would need to shut down operations until the item was added to their menus. The price was set at $5 or less, but the truck that sold the most would receive an extra $500 in their till. The second place truck would get $250 extra, and the third place team would snag a bonus $100.

The teams scored varying degrees of success with their brand new twists on the Tyler-mandated menu items. While Military Moms found their Sonoran dogs to be big sellers, Madres struggled to sell them at all and closed up for the night feeling nervous over their chances.

Day two began as the trucks opened for business once again. Tyler called the teams to deliver the week's Speed Bump. He shared that he'd blocked off a street at a popular folk festival, and instructed them to report to that street to sell their food in head-to-head fashion.

The contestants found it challenging to attract attention with all seven trucks in the same spot. Just as they were trying to adapt and devise new marketing strategies, Tyler called them with the day's second Speed Bump. He revealed that they'd have 30 minutes to write a food truck jingle. Although no prizes were available, they were each promised time on stage to present their jingles to the festival attendees.

As usual, the teams experienced different levels of success with the products of their labor, with some jingles scoring with attendees and others leaving people scratching their heads, before heading back out to sell more food. As traffic dwindled, the teams closed up shop for the day and left, with most feeling confident about the cash totals in their tills.

A day later, Tyler welcomed the contestants to Tucson's Pima Air and Space Museum to reveal the results of the week two competition. He praised them for upping their cumulative earnings, revealing that after earning just $5,737 during week one, they'd snared $17,000 during week two.

He went on to name the winners of the Sonoran hot dog challenge. Beach Cruiser took the top $500 prize with 159 hot dogs sold, Military Moms placed second and scored $250, and Middle Feast snagged $100 for finishing third.

With the bonuses distributed, Tyler then revealed the week's final outcome. With $3,685, Beach Cruiser finished first. Earnings of $3,238 earned Lone Star second place, while $2,716 scored Military Moms the three spot. The rest finished as follows: Let There Be Bacon, $2,376; Madres, $2,290; and in sixth place, Middle Feast.

Sent packing were the guys of Gourmet Grads. Tyler encouraged the young men to take it as a life lesson and to keep pursuing their dreams.

He then addressed the six remaining teams to reveal their next destination: Austin, Texas. Although Lone Star was delighted to be heading to their home state, a preview for the episode suggested that the week may not provide the huge advantage the trio hoped to score.

"The Great Food Truck Race" 2014 resumes Aug. 31 on The Food Network. Follow the network's official Twitter account for news and information.