One year ago, the Stadium Super Trucks tour went under a revamping of it's schedule to help with repairs to the trucks, and to help bring more exposure to the series by hitting different styles of racing. The first venue the series went to after the changing of the dates and events was Honda Indy Toronto, to race alongside the double-header weekend for the IndyCar Series.
What the fans got in return was some of the most unexpected racing to ever occur on the street course, complete with metal ramps to let these off-road trucks take flight.
One year later, Robby Gordon and the rest of the SST field returned to Honda Indy Toronto to once again have two races on the street course alongside the IndyCar Series, meaning the fans not only got to see low-riding, aerodynamic action from guys names Hitchcliff and Montoya, but also got to see some squirming and swaying on the part of drivers named Lopez, Bambach, and even Canada's own Paul Tracy taking the wheel of these off-road trucks.
Saturday's action began with...rain. The weather in Toronto had called for rain in the forecast and that is what the fans got. But, unlike the open-wheel cars that were slated to run later, the SST machines were equipped with grooved tires, the same kind anyone can buy off the shelf at the local dealership, and had no windshields. The trucks were going to take to the wet track just as they did in the opening round in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Track conditions were better, and it was not raining as hard, but the trucks were still going to have difficulty handling on the asphalt.
Tracy would start on the outside pole after the field was inverted for the first race, and he was showing that despite only having one race in these trucks, that race ending in a bad wreck a year ago, he understood how they handled and quickly got out to the front. However, coming from the back was both the veteran driver, and champion, Gordon plus the 16-year-old hot shoe, Sheldon Creed. Both worked their way to the front by the mid-race caution, and it was becoming clear that it was coming down to these two drivers for the victory.
The two would battle hard on the wet surface, handling the conditions very well, but as the checkered flag waved, it was Creed returning to victory lane in Toronto, the place where he got his first SST win a year ago. Gordon kept pace to finish second, while Scotty Steele finished out the podium.
When Sunday rolled around, the field again was inverted based on how they finished from the previous race, meaning once again it was Creed and Gordon bringing up the rear in the 8-lap dash. What was a welcome sight was that the skies were overcast, however no rain was falling on the track. It was going to be a completely different surface, meaning handling would be a challenge as were keeping the brakes working at the faster speeds.
At the drop of the green, it was Tracy getting the jump in his Traxxas blue machine, actually pulling away from the field for the first part of the race. Meanwhile, Creed and Gordon once again were working their way through the field, almost as if it was the previous day again.
When the field got under yellow, Gordon and Creed had made it to second and third, with Tracy still holding pace. But on lap 6, Creed would work his way to the lead and Gordon was close behind. That was when the real fun began.
Creed and Gordon would swap the lead three times over the next lap and a half, and with two laps left it almost appeared the lead had settled. On the backstretch Gordon went for the lead on the inside, and both trucks squirmed under braking, and then the two made contact entering the corner. Gordon spun out entering the corner, while Creed slid into the tire barrier, but was able to keep it straight and made his way through the twisting corners leading to the ramp section of the track. Gordon was making up time, and was back on Creed's bumper as the white flag came out.
The two would rub, battle, and compete the entire final lap, neither yielding to one another, and when the two came up to the final three corners and jumps, it was coming down to the wire.
But, once again, in a repeat of the day before, Creed held on and would go 2 for 2 on the weekend, taking the checkered flag on Sunday as well in Toronto.
It would be the second sweep over the year in the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road series, as it was E.J. Viso sweeping all three races in Detroit earlier this year. But for Creed, the wins mean more because it was he who defeated the defending champion, and the creator, of the series. Not bad for a 16-year-old kid who's still in high school.
The series again has a long layoff from competition, in fact the longest layoff of any motorsport, before hitting the track again. Luckily, it will be yet another return destination for the SST tour as they will return to Costa Mesa, California, to run two races at the OC Fair and Event Center, as part of the Sand Sports Supershow.
Tickets are available now, so visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com to get yours to see this series live.