After a minor break from competition, it was time for the Stadium Super Trucks Series to get back to action. The run on the west coast had ended with the second stadium event in San Diego, and now on the docket was the first official dome event of the year.
In America's heartland, with the big arch in the background, the SST made it's stop in St. Louis, Missouri, just outside the home of the Bigfoot monster truck. The Edward Jones Dome would welcome three classes of vehicles for the fans. Along with the SST class, four monster trucks would come into play, and then an introduction to the Stadium Trophy Karts, which were the big brother to the Super Karts that ran on the west coast.
Heading into the event, series creator Robby Gordon held a slight lead in the points over Rob McCachren, with each having two wins on the season. But, McCachren began putting the pressure before Saturday night's event, qualifying on the pole.
It didn't help Gordon's cause any more as in the first heat as he would roll his truck during the 10-lap race, finishing last and going to the Last-Chance Qualifier. McCachren, on the other hand, would win his heat race, coming from the back as heats were set in reverse qualifying order.
The second heat would be much calmer, and it would be a victory for PJ Jones taking the checkered flag.
The Last-Chance Qualifier would see Gordon make his run to getting into the main event, but unfortunately once again he couldn't get to victory. Instead, it was 15-year-old Sheldon Creed taking the win, and moving on. Gordon would be runner-up, as he would make it to the 20-lap feature.
To start off the main events of the night, it would be the debut of the Super Trophy Karts, with some of the SST drivers taking to the course in a smaller version of their trucks.
Creed seemed to take a liking to the powerful machines, as he would continue the momentum from his LCQ victory and would take the win in the debut race. Fans seemed to like what they saw, as did the drivers.
The next class to come out, the big boys, the monsters.
Hoping to hold down the home turf was Team Bigfoot, who sent it's two top drivers to compete inside the Dome, the first time in nearly 15 years that Bigfoot was inside the home of the St. Louis Rams. Dan Runte, with his Summit Bigfoot, and Larry Swim, piloting the Speed Energy Bigfoot, were ready to keep this trophy at home.
At the same time, the other two trucks there were hoping to play spoiler. Making their debut in the SST Series was Flame Motorsports, from Texas, which sported new looks for this event. Nitro Hornet driver Daron Basl had his Chevrolet sporting a Graffiti look, while teammate David Smith took off the colors of King Krunch and had on a Texas flag-wrapped Chevrolet, with barbed wire along the bottom like fencing.
The long track proved to be a good playing field for the trucks, as it came down to Basl and Runte in the finals. But, it would not be the home team victorious.
On this night, in his debut SST race, Basl would put the Graffiti truck into victory lane. Unfortunately he wouldn't make it there as on his victory lap, he cut the truck hard to the right, and wound up putting the first few scratches on the new body as his truck wound up on the side.
Finally, the wait was over. The 20-lap SST main event would finish the night inside the dome, and both fans and drivers were ready, although some were missing body panels from earlier incidents.
The field inversion put McCachren and Jones in row 2, while Gordon was hoping to come from farther back to make the podium and hold onto his slim points lead. By the midway point, McCachren had found the lead, with Keegan Kincaid running second. Gordon would be up to 4th by that time, but still needed to make up some ground.
As the laps wound down, Kincaid would fall out and not finish. That would move Nick Baumgartner into the runner-up position, but Gordon was coming strong.
He would make the pass for the spot, but it would not be enough. After winning the debut event in Phoenix, then the first event at San Diego, McCachren would be the first driver this year to say he won three events, as he blasted through the finish line, setting off the fire balls, and winning the SST main event in San Diego.
The win should give him back the orange number plate, which is the plate designating the points leader heading into the next race.
NBC Sports will have a highlights show from this event on Sunday, June 9, at 2 p.m. ET for the fans that were unable to attend St. Louis, or for those that just want to relive the race and memories.
Another SST event is in the books, but the season is only half over.
In two weeks, the SST Series will head to it's next event, and for the first time will head into the northern half of the country to one of the most famed football stadiums in the country. They head to a stadium that saw coach Mike Ditka lead his team to a Super Bowl, while seeing greats like William "Refrigerator" Perry and Walter Payton set their sights on immortality. It's the place where Brian Urlacher etched his name, and his cleats, into being one of the best all-time linebackers.
That is right, the SST Series will be heading to the home of the Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, on June 22.
Tickets are available right now, so visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com for information on where to get yours, along with a free pit pass, and an updated schedule of events.