Stadium Super Trucks

The Stadium Super Trucks (SST), officially the Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks and formerly known as Speed Energy Formula Off-Road, is an American and Australian off-road racing series created by off-road racer and former IndyCar and NASCAR driver Robby Gordon in 2013. Sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC) in America with title sponsorship from Gordon's Speed Energy brand, the series utilizes identical off-road trucks that originally competed primarily in American football stadiums, but in 2014 began racing mostly on street circuits and road courses, often in conjunction with the IndyCar Series race schedules.

Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks
Stadium Super Trucks logo.png
CategoryOff-road racing
CountryUnited States
Canada
RegionNorth America
Inaugural season2013
Engine suppliersChevrolet
Tire suppliersToyo Tires
Continental Tire
Drivers' championMatthew Brabham
Official websitewww.stadiumsupertrucks.com
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

In Australia, SST operates the Boost Mobile Super Trucks championship. Sanctioned by Motorsport Australia and promoted by Boost Mobile, the series was founded in 2020 and supports the Supercars Championship.

Matthew Brabham is the current series champion after winning the title in 2019. Two-time champion Sheldon Creed has the most wins in series history with 36.

HistoryEdit

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.[1] Gordon announced the formation of the Stadium Super Trucks (SST) in 2012, modeling the series after Thompson's MTEG stadium series;[2] early in his career, Gordon had won the 1989 MTEG championship as a 20-year-old.[1] Gordon later compared the concept of SST to that of IROC; drivers and/or sponsors could take over a team for a year but the series provided everything else.[3] 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.[4]

The Stadium Super Trucks began with a twelve-race season in 2013.[5] The series held their first official race at the University of Phoenix Stadium on April 6, 2013.[6] 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.[7] Gordon and MacCachren battled throughout the 2013 season, and Gordon won the championship by seven points.[8] As support events, the series scheduled monster trucks, quad bikes and Side by Side UTVs.[9]

 
Race at Crandon in 2013

On December 11, 2013, Gordon announced the series would be among the events held at the X Games Austin in 2014.[10] On March 4, 2014, the series was renamed to Speed Energy Formula Off-Road presented by Traxxas with the trucks retaining the SST name,[11] though the Formula Off-Road branding was quietly reverted by 2016.[12] The series' X Games final was held at Circuit of the Americas on June 8.[13] Apdaly Lopez won the gold medal; Sheldon Creed and Gordon earned silver and bronze, respectively.[14]

On September 23, 2014, sponsorship marketing company The Elevation Group purchased a 40 percent stake in the series.[15] 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.[16]

Although stadiums were gradually phased out in favor of street courses, SST returned to the former in December 2017 with the inaugural Stadium Super Trucks World Championship Finals in California's Lake Elsinore Diamond baseball park.[17] Although he did not compete in the weekend due to a rib injury, Paul Morris clinched the 2017 championship with Jerett Brooks driving his No. 67 truck.[18]

In September 2018, the series organized the Robby Gordon Off-Road World Championships at Glen Helen Raceway from November 30 to December 2.[19] To close out the season, SST returned to the Race of Champions in 2019, now held in Mexico City, as both a competing category for ROC drivers and a standalone points race.[20][21] Matthew Brabham ended the season with his first series championship.[22]

Overseas expansionEdit

In late 2014 and into 2015, the series expanded outside the United States and Canada, starting with the 2014 Race of Champions in Barbados.[23] With the support of driver Craig Dontas and former Adelaide 500 general manager Nathan Cayzer, SST expanded into Australia for the 2015 season.[24] In May, the trucks were invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.[25] In 2016, the series held the Inaugural Mike's Peak Hill Climb Challenge at Mike's Sky Rancho in Baja California.[26] The trucks also held demonstrations in the Mongolian desert in 2016 and 2019.[27][28] During the 2017 season, SST ran its first race in China at Beijing National Stadium.[29]

In May 2018, Gordon formed a three-year partnership with Boost Mobile to keep the series in Australia beyond 2019. As part of the agreement, the series' Australian operations were handled by Cayzer and Morris' Paul Morris Motorsport.[24] However, in September, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS, now known as Motorsport Australia) revoked their license over safety concerns, a decision particularly spurred 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.[30][31]

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.[31] On October 11, judge John Digby ruled in favor of CAMS.[32] 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 SST for competition in AMRS events following a risk assessment.[33] The trucks' first race weekend under the AMRS banner took place nine days later at the Sydney Motorsport Park.[34]

On August 20, 2019, CAMS and SST announced they had reached an agreement to lift the ban and form a three-year commercial rights contract.[35] Six days later, Adelaide 500 officials confirmed the series would make its return at the 2020 edition in February with safety improvements like smaller ramps.[36] SST's first race in Australia since the ban's conclusion took place in October 2019 with the Gold Coast 600 weekend at Surfers Paradise Street Circuit.[37]

Boost Mobile Super TrucksEdit

Boost Mobile Super Trucks
CountryAustraila
New Zealand
RegionOceania
Inaugural season2020
Engine suppliersChevrolet
Tire suppliersContinental Tire
  Current season

Following the series' return to Australia in October 2019, the trucks' identity in the country became known as the Boost Mobile Super Trucks.[37] As part of the new branding, starting in 2020, SST split into American and Australian championships called the Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks and Boost Mobile Super Trucks, respectively. While both divisions have their separate standings and champions, they also conduct co-sanctioned weekends together.[38]

The Boost Mobile Super Truck operations are based at Paul Morris Motorsport's Norwell Motorplex in Norwell, Queensland.[39]

DriversEdit

 
Japanese rally driver E. J. Chiba leads Bill Hynes at Texas Motor Speedway in 2018

The series typically features racers who have competed in off-road events; during the inaugural season, 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. Two-wheel riders like Moto X biker Jeremy Stenberg and four-time AMA Supercross Championship winner Ryan Villopoto also have experience in SST,[40][41] while other off-road competitors who have dabbled in the series include Dakar Rally champion Toby Price.[42]

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,[43] road course ringer Boris Said,[44] and former Nationwide Series driver and eleven-time X Games medalist Travis Pastrana.[45] P. J. Jones also made starts for Gordon's Robby Gordon Motorsports team in NASCAR,[46][47] while Justin Lofton raced in NASCAR with Speed Energy sponsorship.[48] Other NASCAR veterans who have raced in the series include Casey Mears, the son of off-road and stadium truck racer Roger Mears,[49] and Greg Biffle.[50]

Gordon's other former discipline IndyCar has also seen crossovers into SST. In addition to those with experience in stock cars like Jones, Champ Car veteran Max Papis and 2003 champion Paul Tracy have run races; the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto round featured all three drivers.[51][52] Former IndyCar driver E. J. Viso, who led the most laps and finished second in his SST debut,[53] has seven wins.[54]

When racing in Australia, SST and Boost Mobile Super Trucks events also feature those from the Supercars Championship and its support series. SST's first race in the country at Adelaide in 2015 saw Supercar driver Nathan Pretty make his series debut,[42] while 2014 Bathurst 1000 victor Paul Morris won the SST championship in 2017.[55][56] Russell Ingall, winner of the 2005 V8 Supercar Championship Series, began competing in the trucks in 2018.[57] Drivers from the support level include Aussie Racing Cars' Matt Nolan and the Super2 Series' Jake Kostecki.[58][59]

In 2016, motocross rider Sara Price became the first female driver in series history when she made her debut at Toronto.[60]

TracksEdit

During its first season, the series raced predominantly in football stadiums, such as University of Phoenix Stadium, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or Edward Jones Dome, with a dirt track laid out on the field while also running on street circuits as a supporting event for the IndyCar Series. The trucks also ran a race at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway.[61]

Eventually, SST focused almost exclusively on street courses like the Long Beach Grand Prix, Honda Indy Toronto, Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, and Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Gordon explained in a 2017 interview that the transition to street circuits "brings [the trucks] to a completely different fan audience."[62] On the street courses, aluminum ramps are placed on the track;[9] 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).[63] In June 2017, the series made its debut on an oval track at Texas Motor Speedway, running as a support event for IndyCar's Rainguard Water Sealers 600.[64] Although stadiums decreased in hosting races over time, SST continued to occasionally race in such venues. For instance, in July 2017, the first Chinese-based SST event was held with Monster Jam at Beijing National Stadium.[29][65]

The series' Australian racing began in 2015 with rounds at the Adelaide Street Circuit as a support for the V8 Supercars' Adelaide 500.[66] Further Australian events were held at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit with the Gold Coast 600,[67] the Valvoline Raceway for the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship,[68] and the Homebush Street Circuit for the Sydney 500.[69] In 2017, SST ran at Barbagallo Raceway as an undercard for the Perth SuperSprint, marking the first time the series raced on a permanent circuit.[70] Later in the season, the series raced at the Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin as part of the Supercars' Darwin Triple Crown weekend.[71] In 2020, the trucks joined the Supercars' Auckland SuperSprint round at Pukekohe Park Raceway, their first time in New Zealand.[72]

SST has also supported NASCAR events. In 2017, they began racing at Road America alongside the Xfinity Series' Johnsonville 180,[73] while they supported the NASCAR Cup Series' O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in 2019.[74]

TrucksEdit

 
The Stadium Super Truck of Robby Gordon at the 2015 Clipsal 500 Adelaide

Powered by a 600-hp Chevrolet LS V8 engine,[75] 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).[63] A portion of the frame protects the driver from rolls. 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.[76] Each truck may race with tires from Toyo Tires or Continental Tire,[77][78] while Hawk Performance provides brake pads.[79]

The 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.[80] Drivers may also swap their trucks if they are unsatisfied with their current vehicle.[81] Gordon, who departed NASCAR with the belief that the top teams had a large advantage over the smaller teams due to the amount of money spent, designed the trucks as such as he wanted SST to be a "drivers' series".[82] He described the stadium trucks as resembling Monster Jam trucks for their size and NASCAR and IndyCar vehicles for their ability to handle in corners.[28]

Media coverageEdit

The 2013 SST events were televised tape-delayed on NBC and NBC Sports Network;[83] seven were televised on NBC and five on NBC Sports Network.[5] Most of the twelve races in 2013 were televised on Sunday afternoons.[84] In 2014, NBCSN returned to broadcast the season's races, but was later replaced by CBS Sports Network in September.[85][86] The X Games events were aired nationally on ABC.[45][87]

Races are streamed live on the series' website and Facebook page. When the series races in Australia, viewers in the country and New Zealand are prohibited from watching online and instead watch on Fox Sports.[88]

The trucks have been featured in various video games as playable vehicles. Gordon's No. 7 Speed Energy truck appears in an expansion pack for the 2014 game Forza Horizon 2.[89] In 2020, the SST was included in Project CARS 3.[90]

Race formatEdit

A race weekend is three days long, with qualifying on the first and two races on Saturday and Sunday. Races are split into either 12 laps or 20 minutes depending on which is completed first, while competition cautions are used at the halfway point to group the drivers together for closer racing to the finish. A standing start is used to begin a race, while restarts utilize rolling starts.[91]

American SST races are sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC), with racing decisions being overseen by a race control unit.[92][93] Radio communication between the two and drivers is one-way, which allows for messages from the former to be available for all drivers, though competitors cannot respond to Race Control nor USAC.[91]

Points are awarded to at most 15 drivers per race, with bonus points given for the fastest qualifier, heat race winner, the driver who leads the most laps in the main event, and for each position gained in a race. A driver may also earn points on behalf of another by racing with their number plate.[94]

Points Position
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th
Heat 12 10 8 7 5 4 3 2 1
Final 25 22 20 18 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6
Bonuses
Most laps led 3
Inversion 1
Qualifying 1

Champions and winnersEdit

ChampionsEdit

By seasonEdit

Season Driver No.(s) Races FQ W Top
3s
Pts. Margin
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
2018 Matthew Brabham 83 20 of 20 5 6 14 540 50
2019 Matthew Brabham 83 19 of 19 4 5 13 476 54

1 Jerett Brooks drove the No. 67 truck at Lake Elsinore, with all points going to Morris

By driverEdit

Total Driver Seasons
2 Robby Gordon 2013, 2014
Sheldon Creed 2015, 2016
Matthew Brabham 2018, 2019
1 Paul Morris 2017

All-time winnersEdit

 
Two-time SST champion Sheldon Creed has the most wins in series history with 36.

Figures correct as of 2020 at Road America (August 8, 2020).[54]

† – Series champion
  Indicates driver is competing in the 2020 Stadium Super Trucks or Boost Mobile Super Trucks season
Driver Wins
Sheldon Creed 36
Robby Gordon 25
Matthew Brabham 21
Gavin Harlien 9
E. J. Viso 7
Burt Jenner 4
Rob MacCachren 4
Apdaly Lopez 4
P. J. Jones 4
Keegan Kincaid 4
Cole Potts 4
Paul Morris 3
Justin Lofton 3
Arie Luyendyk Jr. 3
Jeff Hoffman 2
Matt Mingay 2
Shae Davies 1
Bill Hynes 1
Blade Hildebrand 1
Jerett Brooks 1
Craig Dontas 1
Scotty Steele 1

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit