All the hype, all the promotion, and all the anticipation finally became a reality for the newest off-road series to hit the dirt. It was just about one year ago that Robby Gordon announced his attempt to bring back stadium off-road racing to the forefront, modeled after the classic series by legendary racer Mickey Thompson.
Finally, the wait was over. Track crews spent nearly a week massaging, working, and tweaking the race track. With a strong crowd in attendance, the Stadium Super Trucks Series would begin a new era in off-road racing.
After all the heats, brackets, and last chance qualifiers were run, it was time for the main events.
Up first on the list was the Super Karts, which gave a glimpse into racing's future as the young racers would take to the track. It would turn out to be one of the most competitive races on the night, and in the end it was young Miles Cheek taking the first ever checkered flag in SST history.
Track crews then made some modification to the barriers so that the next class could race on a different course with different setups. Up next would be the open-wheel Super Buggies.
If the Karts were just getting fans hyped up for the big boys, then the buggies certainly had a way of getting everyone on their feet.
The main event came down to Eddie Tafoya and Robb Harvey, who would battle for lap after lap in trying to get the lead and win. On the final lap, the two would go side-by-side through the final two corners, each getting over the corner hills and trying to make it to the finish line before their opposition. By just a mere half-buggy length, Tafoya would hold on and take the checkered flag to take the first buggy win of the season.
Once again, track crews would go to work in modifying the barriers, but it would be for the final time as the final two classes would run the same course.
Up first would be the monster trucks, who unlike the other classes, would go through a bracket to make it to the championship.
On the inside lane it would be Darren Mingues in the Bounty Hunter, who lost to the Firestone Bigfoot in the first round but return when Kyle Doyle couldn't come back. He would defeat the Summit Racing Bigfoot of Dan Runte to make the finals. In the other lane, title sponsor Speed Energy would be represented by the orange Speed Bigfoot with Larry Swim at the wheel, who would work past Rick Swanson in Obsessed and then his son, Eric, in Obsession to reach the title round.
Both trucks handled the long track with ease, and kept it close into the final corner. But on this night, the winner would be the Bounty Hunter, with Mingues barely edging out Swim. The Bounty Hunter team wasn't scheduled to be in attendance, but when invited last weekend at Firebird Raceway by Gordon himself, the team couldn't pass up the chance to compete.
But then, the main event would be on tap. The Stadium Super Trucks would come out for their final round after two heats won by Justin Lofton, who qualified on pole, Greg Adler, and a last-chance qualifier won by Mike Jenkins.
Competition was tight, but Lofton ran into some trouble as he took one corner too tight, causing him to roll and bring out the caution.
With nine laps to go, Gordon even had issues causing heavy damage to the nose, but would continue on.
The green would come back out and Rob MacCachren had the lead, and never looked back. Gordon would work his way up into the top-five, but kept charging as the laps would click off the board. PJ Jones would end up in a battle for the runner-up spot, as MacCachren kept pulling away. Jones would try to hold off Justin Matney, but Matney decided to lay on the chrome horn, hitting Jones and sending him rolling.
All this would happen in the rear-view mirror as MacCachren would fly his way to the first SST victory in series history. Matney would finish runner-up and Gordon would complete the podium with a third-place run.
It was an exciting night in off-road racing, and it appears the series is off to the right start and is heading in the right direction for success.
Fans that couldn't attend the first event, or just want to relive the action, will get the chance to as NBC will broadcast highlights next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. The series heads to Long Beach, California, for an exhibition event two weeks from today at the Long Beach Grand Prix.
The next event for the SST Series will be April 27 at the venue that Gordon announced the beginning of the series, the LA Coliseum. Tickets are still available. Visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com for all the event info and latest news in the SST Series.