When a new racing series is announced, it comes with a lot of wonder, and questions, as to whether it will be successful. In a sense, that was what happened last year when Robby Gordon announced he was going to reintroduce stadium off-road racing, similar to the classic series done by Mickey Thompson.
But, already since the dirt began filling University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, the anticipation for the debut of the Stadium Super Truck Series has been growing.
Track building teams have been at the stadium since last weekend adding dirt, building the jumps, and tweaking the setup. In order to make sure it was done right, Robby Gordon brought out his own SST machine to give the track a test run, and needless to say the track is not only big, it would make even the most hardcore off-road racer excited to step inside the huge venue.
The track setup has the front straightaway going the full-length of the stadium, before cutting hard into the 90-degree first turn. After going the width of the stadium, the competitors will cut hard right and go over the biggest two jumps in the track, crossing the entire length of the floor, going full-throttle over two jumps that are the height of shipping containers.
Once landing, the drivers will cut hard right once again and hit the short rhythm section before they come upon a choice. The track then breaks into both an outside and inside lane. The outside lane will cut hard right under the first container jump, or the over-under as it's termed in Supercross, before then making a hard left and going over the backstretch jump, which is the length of four side-by-side flatbed trailers.
Drivers electing to take the inside lane will make a longer first run with a single jump, before cutting right and going through the second over-under jump, entirely missing the trailer jump.
The lanes will combine for the final turns eight and nine, before roaring down the frontstretch to the finish.
Four different classes of racing will mark the debut of the SST Series. The Super Karts will be the series for the youth drivers, modeled after the popular side-by-side buggies. Also racing will be the Super Buggies and the Super Trucks. In addition, there will also be monster truck off-road racing, including some of the biggest independent teams in the industry.
Team Bigfoot is bringing a huge fleet to the debut, as Bigfoots 10, 14, 15, 18 and 19 will all compete. In addition to the Bigfoot bunch, Pat Gerber will bring out his Shocker Chevrolet, David Smith will have King Krunch, Scott Hartsock will have the Gunslinger Ford, and the Swanson team will bring out Obsession and Obsessed.
Just announced this week was the addition to the Phoenix event was Jimmy Creten and his Bounty Hunter Ford Expedition.
Tickets for the inaugural event at University of Phoenix Stadium are still available, with pricing anywhere from $20-$100 a seat. NBC TV also has inked broadcasting rights, so anyone unable to make the debut event this Saturday will be able to watch the event on Sunday, April 14, from 3-4 p.m. ET.
For additional information, including all the events in the debut season of the SST Series, visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com/SST.
Yesterday, the monster trucks got their first taste of the SST track at University of Phoenix Stadium. Team Bigfoot driver Darron Schnell brought his Vi-Cor Bigfoot "Bessie" truck inside to test the waters of the unique track.
The test run proves that having two trucks running side-by-side of this size might be possible, but could have catastrophic results in the tight corners and over some of the jumps. This may lead to a staggered start for the monster trucks, much like what happens in desert racing such as the Baja 1000, with trucks starting at different intervals and basing the winner based on time.
At the same time, there could also be a bracket style to use, with two trucks in one heat and narrowing the field down to four trucks and having them compete at the same time.
No details available yet as to how the monster truck competition will work, but more video and coverage coming in the next few days before the debut event on Saturday night.
Today was the only day of practice for many of the classes, including the Super Buggies, the SST class, and the monster trucks.
The SST class held separate sessions, with the class being split into three groups and each driver in each group getting five laps of track time. Fastest driver that completed their entire lap was Justin Lofton, who's fastest lap came on his final run with a time of 47.611 seconds. He was nearly a second faster than Rob MacCachran.
In addition, the monster trucks were given their setup for their brackets, as trucks will run two at a time, one starting at the exit of turn 3, and the other at the exit of turn 9, where the regular starting line is set up. Trucks must complete one full lap and the one making it back to it's designated starting line will move on in their heat.
The trucks had a rather interesting practice session as Jimmy Creten rolled out for his practice run, but after testing the remote ignition interruptor, the truck would not restart. Dan Runte made his practice run, while Jimmy was towed off.
But, the biggest incident came two runs later as Bigfoot drivers Kyle Doyle and Tim Missentzis made their runs. Missentzis was on his back half of his practice lap, he caught a rut in the first corner, and put his Odyssey Batteries truck on it's side. It appears the only damage was the fiberglass body, but he was unable to come back to make a second practice lap.
Live video is available at the SST website, including qualifying later tonight.
Tomorrow's event will kick off at 7 p.m. PT.
Qualifying for tomorrow night's debut SST event has concluded, with the Stadium Super Trucks ending the night with their three-lap heats to set times.
Justin Lofton was the fastest in the earlier practice, and he backed up his session by taking the pole for the inaugural race. Lofton posted his fastest time on his final lap, clocking in at 46.525 seconds. Second fastest was the creator of the Stadium Super Trucks Series, Robby Gordon, who was nearly a half-second slower with a time of 46.976 seconds.
The track has gotten faster since the earlier practice due to time on the track and drivers getting more comfortable.
Tomorrow's schedule kicks off with the pits opening for the fans at 2 p.m, with the teams beginning work on their vehicles at 11 a.m. Actual action will kick off at 7 p.m. with the monster trucks running their heat races. The Super Buggies will follow in their heats, and then the SST heats afterward. The trophy kart class will have it's Final at about 8:30, followed by the Last Chance Qualifiers for both the SST and monster trucks.
The final round for the monster trucks is scheduled for approximately 9:10, with the SST Finals happening about 10 minutes later. All times listed are Pacific Time.
Follow the Stadium Super Trucks on Facebook (Facebook.com/StadiumSuperTrucks) and on Twitter (twitter.com/SSuperTrucks) for updates tomorrow night at their inaugural event.