Speed Energy Formula Off-Road
The Speed Energy Formula Off-Road presented by Traxxas (popularly known as the Stadium Super Trucks) is an American off-road racing series. The series was formed by former IndyCar and NASCAR driver Robby Gordon in 2013. Sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC), the Trucks originally competed primarily in American football stadiums, but in 2014 began racing mostly on street circuits.
|Classes||Stadium Super Truck|
|Tire suppliers||Toyo Tires|
|Drivers' champion||Paul Morris|
By 2011, there was speculation that after his NASCAR career was over, Robby Gordon would bring back the concept of stadium off-road racing that Mickey Thompson had invented. Gordon announced the formation of the Stadium Super Trucks (SST) in 2012, modeling the series after Thompson's MTEG stadium series; early in his career, Gordon had won the 1989 MTEG championship as a 20-year-old. The Stadium Super Trucks held an exhibition race at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway after the conclusion of the World Championship races on September 2, 2012.
The Stadium Super Trucks began with a twelve-race season in 2013. The series held their first official race at the University of Phoenix Stadium on April 6, 2013. The race was won by Rob MacCachren, Justin Matney finished second, and Gordon passed the flipped-over truck of P. J. Jones on the final lap for third. Gordon and MacCachren battled throughout the 2013 season, and Gordon won the championship by seven points. As support events, the series scheduled monster trucks, quad bikes and Side by Side UTVs.
On December 11, 2013, Gordon announced that the series will be among the events held at the X Games Austin in 2014. On March 4, 2014, the series was rebranded as the "Speed Energy Formula Off-Road Presented By Traxxas". The series' X Games final was held at Circuit of the Americas on June 8. Apdaly Lopez won the gold medal; Sheldon Creed and Gordon earned silver and bronze, respectively.
On September 23, 2014, sponsorship marketing company Elevation Group purchased a 40 percent stake in the series. In 2015, the series entered a partnership with all-terrain vehicle manufacturer Arctic Cat, which led to the creation of the Arctic Cat Stadium Side-by-Side (SXS) Racing Series as a support series to the SST.
In late 2014 and into 2015, the series expanded outside the United States and Canada, starting with the 2014 Race of Champions in Barbados. With the support of driver Craig Dontas and former Adelaide 500 general manager Nathan Cayzer, Formula Off-Road expanded into Australia for the 2015 season. In May, the trucks were invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
Formula Off-Road returned to stadiums in December 2017 with the inaugural Stadium Super Trucks World Championship Finals in California's Lake Elsinore Diamond baseball park. Although he did not compete for the weekend, Paul Morris clinched the 2017 championship with Jerret Brooks driving his No. 67 truck.
In May 2018, Gordon formed a three-year partnership with Boost Mobile to keep the series in Australia beyond the 2019. As part of the agreement, the series' Australian operations were handled by Cayzer and Morris' Paul Morris Motorsport. However, in September, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) revoked their licence over safety concerns, a decision particularly spurned by an incident in the May race at Barbagallo Raceway in which Matt Nolan's truck's wheel came off during a wreck and hit a spectator bridge.
A court hearing overseen by the Supreme Court of Victoria took place a month later. The series' defense, led by Queen's Counsel barrister Stewart Anderson, said new wheels would be built with forged billet aluminium that makes them heavier and less likely to detach than the current cast alloy. Retired Supercar driver Larry Perkins also gave his support after inspecting them earlier in the year, comparing the trucks' safety to the Supercars. Anderson further stated CAMS and SST had formed an agreement in February in which the former expressed satisfaction at the series, yet CAMS made the decision to suspend the series in May and did not inform SST officials until July, which Gordon stated was a breach of contract. On October 11, judge John Digby ruled in favor of CAMS.
Six days after the ruling, the series aligned with the Australian Auto Sport Alliance's Australian Motor Racing Series (AMRS) to remain in the country. The AASA, which is not affiliated with CAMS, and the NSW Sport and Recreation approved Formula Off-Road for competition in AMRS events following a risk assessment. The trucks' first race weekend under the AMRS banner took place nine days later at the Sydney Motorsport Park.
The series typically featured racers who have competed in off-road events; in the inaugural race, off-road racers included Robby Gordon, Championship Off-Road Racing driver Rob MacCachren, TORC driver Sheldon Creed and motocross rider Jeff Ward. The 2013 season also featured drivers from other disciplines, like Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Paul Tracy (IndyCar), Nick Baumgartner (Olympic snowboarding) and Traxxas owner Mike Jenkins. Other drivers who have competed in the series include Moto X biker Jeremy Stenberg and four-time AMA Supercross Championship winner Ryan Villopoto.
Like Gordon, other NASCAR drivers have competed in the series. At X Games Austin 2015, among the NASCAR competitors were 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace, road course ringer Boris Said and former Nationwide Series driver and eleven-time X Games medalist Travis Pastrana. P. J. Jones also made starts for Gordon's Robby Gordon Motorsports team in NASCAR, while Justin Lofton raced in NASCAR with Speed Energy sponsorship. In December 2017, Xfinity Series driver Casey Mears, the son of off-road and stadium truck racer Roger Mears, made his Formula Off-Road debut at Lake Elsinore.
During its inaugural season, the series raced predominantly in stadiums filled with dirt like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, while also running on street circuits as a supporting event for the IndyCar Series. Eventually, the series focused almost exclusively on street courses. "Before you know it, we're doing 10 street races instead of stadiums and dirt races, which brings it to a completely different fan audience," Gordon stated. On the street courses, aluminum ramps are placed on the track; the ramps are 17 feet, 6 inches long and 2'8" high, and trucks enter them at speeds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h).
The series eventually began an expansion into Australia, which began in 2015 with races at the Adelaide Street Circuit in Australia as a support event for the V8 Supercars' Adelaide 500. Further Australian events were held at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit as a support race for the Gold Coast 600, at the Valvoline Raceway for the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship and at the Homebush Street Circuit for the Sydney 500.
In 2017, Formula Off-Road ran at Barbagallo Raceway as an undercard for the Perth SuperSprint, marking the first time the series raced on a permanent circuit. In June, the series made its debut on an oval track at the Texas Motor Speedway, running as a support event for IndyCar's Rainguard Water Sealers 600. Later in the month, the series raced at the Hidden Valley Raceway in Australia's Darwin as part of the Supercars' Darwin Triple Crown weekend. On July 29, the series partnered with Monster Jam to race at Beijing National Stadium in China, the first Chinese-based event for Formula Off-Road. Two months later, the series raced at Watkins Glen International as a support event for IndyCar's Grand Prix at The Glen; instead of the 3.37-mile (5.42 km) layout used by IndyCar, the trucks raced on the 2.45-mile (3.94 km) course. The Glen was removed for the 2018 IndyCar Series season, and Formula Off-Road instead announced plans to join the series at Road America; for the event, the trucks raced on a shortened course that bypasses turns 6 to 12. For the final laps of the Road America race, however, the drivers raced through the entire course.
Powered by a 600-hp Chevrolet LS V8 engine, the trucks weigh 2,900 pounds (1,300 kg) and are built with a steel-tube frame and fiberglass body. The trucks are 13'5" long and 5'2" high, feature a three-speed transmission and can reach speeds as high as 140 mph (230 km/h). A portion of the frame protects the driver from rolls. The truck's high center of mass and soft suspension makes the vehicle prone to rolling. Next to the driver is a 5-US-gallon (19 l) jug that catches fluids which may have spilled from damage that the truck sustains. Each truck has Department of Transportation-approved Toyo Tires.
In 2012, Gordon ended his NASCAR career, believing the top teams had a large advantage over the smaller teams due to the amount of money spent. As a result, Gordon wanted the Stadium Super Trucks to be a "drivers' series"; with this philosophy, all trucks are identical to each other, though drivers are allowed to change some aspects of their trucks, such as the spring rates, ride heights and camber.
The 2013 SST events were televised tape-delayed on NBC and NBC Sports Network; seven were televised on NBC and five on NBC Sports Network. Most of the twelve races in 2013 were televised on Sunday afternoons. In 2014, NBCSN returned to broadcast the season's races, but was later replaced by CBS Sports Network in September. The X Games events were aired nationally on ABC.
As of the 2017 season, races are streamed live on the series' website and Facebook page. When the series raced in Australia, viewers in the country and New Zealand were prohibited from watching online and instead watched on Fox Sports.
|2013||Robby Gordon||7||14 of 14||3||3||12||407||7|
|2014||Robby Gordon||7||16 of 16||5||6||14||492||75|
|2015||Sheldon Creed||74||22 of 22||6||9||13||617||33|
|2016||Sheldon Creed||1||20 of 21||4||12||15||645||75|
|2017||Paul Morris1||67||22 of 22||3||3||10||546||1|
1 Jerret Brooks drove the No. 67 truck at Lake Elsinore, with all points going to Morris
|2||Robby Gordon||2013, 2014|
|Sheldon Creed||2015, 2016|
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(Joe) Liguori has stepped out of his own No. 4 to wheel the Fred Gormly-RPM No. 98 after regular driver Davey Hamilton, Jr. got the call for a drive this weekend in Beijing, China with the Robby Gordon Stadium SUPER Truck Series.
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She currently works as the field reporter for "SPEED Energy Formula Off Road Presented by Traxxas" (Stadium Super Trucks) which airs on "CBS Sports Network" (previously shown on "NBC Sports Network").
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