When the Stadium Super Trucks got a schedule overhaul for the second half of the season, creator Robby Gordon elected to do more outdoor events at speedways. It started at Toronto, where it was pavement and metal ramps, and then the SST machines invaded Crandon International Speedway to hit the most famous off-road track in the country.
The third venue that welcomed the new series was rather unique, as it featured a track surface that had not been done up to this point.
The Stadium Super Trucks would come to Costa Mesa, California, as part of the Sand Sports Super Show. The track design would consist of pavement and metal ramps, but rather than be a dirt track, to go with the event, the other half of the course would consist of a sand surface, which made setups a bit more challenging in how to get comfortable with the track surface. Tire combination and cut would be critical.
One item missing from the event for the weekend was the points leader, Rob MacCachren. Due to him competing at another event, he would miss all three events. In his place, driving the No. 21 Traxxas Blue machine, was Keegan Kincaid. Any points earned would go towards MacCachren, who entered the weekend with a slight lead over Gordon.
Kincaid quickly proved he was a suitable substitute in the No. 21 truck, as he would qualify second for the first race, just behind Justin Lofton.
Friday night, action was fast and intense, even after the field inversion for the initial start. Everyone seemed to take to the pavement and sand track rather well. No one seemed to adapt to it better than Gordon, as he muscled his way to the lead in the 15-lap event, and held off a charging Kincaid to get the victory, his third of the season.
That narrowed the points margin a bit, but not quite enough for Gordon to take the lead. With two races to go, everyone got prepared for the Saturday night event.
Once again, qualifying was close, and ironically the top three from Friday were again at the top of the heap for Saturday, but Gordon would be the fastest in this round with Kincaid just behind him by a half second.
The inversion meant Gordon would start mid-pack, and would again have to work his way up through the field. But it didn't seem to hinder the veteran racer at all as he and the top qualifiers would work through the pack, while still battling hard for position.
After having a rough night the previous event, Lofton made his charge to the front, with Gordon in pursuit.
On this night, time ran out and at the second Costa Mesa race, Gordon would settle for second place behind Lofton. But with Kincaid finishing in fourth, it meant he gained some points on the lead.
Sunday's race would be held during the day, and the track was watered down to try and keep some of the sand surface from getting too dry and kicked up into the stands. Practice times were just over a minute in length due to the different conditions, but when it came time to qualify for the final race, things sped up in extreme fashion. Lofton improved on his practice time by over four seconds, taking the top spot.
The final race of the weekend would prove to have the most excitement, and the most carnage.
Early on, while the field was bunched up, Gordon found himself in a very difficult spot as he took a bad bounce off one of the sand jumps, endoing his Speed Energy truck and sheering the nose right off. Crews would upright the truck, just minus some of the body panels. But once it was cleaned up, the race was back on.
Another tough day would come at the expense of Kincaid and the debuting BJ Baldwin, as the two would battle hard in the later stages, but Baldwin took a hard hit and the two collided. Baldwin would find himself collecting a water barrier, and also flattening a tire, ending what was a good run for him.
At the end of Sunday's competition, it would be the newest phenom in the series, Sheldon Creed, taking yet another victory on the season.
Lofton would take second, while PJ Jones would take third.
Gordon recovered from his rollover to finish fourth, with Kincaid finishing fifth. Now, despite MacCachren not in attendance, he still holds a small three-point lead in the standings over Gordon.
For photos of the weekend at Costa Mesa and full results, visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com.