Already three races into the inaugural season and the Stadium Super Truck Series has gotten a lot of attention, but has also gotten great response. Fans have come out in droves in Phoenix, Long Beach, and Los Angeles to see the return of stadium off-road racing.
The SST Series stayed out west for round four in the season as it would be the first of two back-to-back trips to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego for all four classes of vehicles.
Crews really wanted to give fans a different look for this weekend's track, as two weeks ago in LA they were asked to not disturb the football field, so majority of the track was run on the perimeter of the stadium, and on asphalt. In San Diego, there was some asphalt put down, but for the most part it was only in one corner. This weekend's track included a crossover that went over two lanes, and also had loose dirt and sand, to give a real baja feel for the drivers.
Other jumps were put in place for other classes, including a trailer jump and an inside-outside corner for the sand pit.
The night started off with the return of the Super Karts, giving the young kids a chance to get in front of the big crowd and show off the future of off-road racing. The 13-Kart field had the crowd buzzing after their opening weekend race in Phoenix, and now had the chance to follow it up.
It turned out to be a great race, and it also saw a repeat as Phoenix winner Miles Cheek wold go on and win his second race of the season. The podium would include Eliott Watson and Broc Dickerson to start off the night.
Second on the night for main events, some open wheel action as the Super Buggies would take to the track to try out the figure-8 course. They would run a slightly different course compared to the Karts and the SST class, but there was no doubt they too would make noise on the night.
Sure enough, the buggy class pleased the crowd as it would come down to a great battle with Apdaly Lopez getting his first win of the year ahead of Eric Jacobus and Michael Ward.
The big jumps would certainly get a work out in the next class, as the monsters were on deck to hit the course. It would only be a six-truck field for this event. Originally, it was to be a seven-truck line-up, but in practice Team Bigfoot ran into some problems. Driver Tim Missentzis got a bit crossed up after a landing, rolling Bigfoot #10. There was body damage, turning the Summit truck into a convertible.
But, the biggest issue was there was damage to the chassis, specifically the roll cage. With safety compromised, the field would be reduced to a six-truck field, as Bigfoot #10 would sit out due to the damaged cage.
Through the first round, it would be three Bigfoot trucks moving on (Summit #18, Speed Energy #19, and Vi-Cor #15). The fast loser would be brought back, which was Eric Swanson in Obsession 103. The second round saw Dan Runte power his Summit Racing #18 machine to victory, but in a surprising upset it was Swanson taking the win over Larry Swim in the Speed Energy machine, guaranteeing there would be a new winner on the season.
Much like LA, the trucks would start at their own starting line, make one lap and whomever returned to their starting position first would be victorious.
Despite being in front of their home crowd, Swanson could not pull off the second upset in a row as Runte powered the first off-road bodied monster truck, Bigfoot #18, to it's first win in the SST Series. After being shut out in the semi-finals the first two weekends, it was a great moment for Runte and the entire team to finally get that victory.
But then, it was time for the main attraction, the Stadium Super Trucks were ready to hit the track for their 20-lap main event. Justin Lofton and Ricky Johnson would win the heat races, with Robby Gordon having to make the big race through the Last Chance Qualifier, but the 14-truck field all looked ready to go for the big win on the night.
Johnson would start on pole, with Phoenix winner Rob McCachren starting alongside for the rolling start, compared to LA which was a standing start. It didn't take long for both of those drivers to establish they would be the ones to beat on the night, but entering the halfway caution it was clear Gordon still was strong, as he worked his way through the field to take the lead just before the caution waved.
With five laps remaining, Gordon would hold the lead, but neither Johnson or McCachren wanted to play second fiddle to the man responsible for bringing the SST Series to life; they wanted a trophy.
Sure enough, Johnson and McCachren would get around for the position, dropping Gordon to third and the laps winding down. On the white flag, Johnson held the lead, but McCachren was right there, breathing down his bumper over the big jump and into the first rhythm section.
The two would remain close through the two-lane crossover under the big jump and headed to the final corner on the blacktop.
That was when McCachren went for it. He dove under Johnson entering the final corner, stood on the throttle and made it stick. Entering the finish line jump, McCachren had the position and in dramatic fashion would take his second SST victory on the season. Johnson would fall to second, with Gordon rounding out the podium.
An intense night that had fans on the edge of their seats wanting more, and in this case will be getting more.
After a week off, the SST Series will come back to San Diego on May 18 for round five, with all the classes coming back and expecting just as great a crowd, if not better, for the second event. For those that missed Saturday night's race, NBC Sports will broadcast the highlights next Sunday, May 12, at 1 p.m. ET.
For all the information on the upcoming SST events, including schedules and ticket locations, visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com.