I was reviewing photos on my camera when the announcement came over the intercom. “Ladies and gentlemen, make your way to the stands for the next feature, Super Stadium Trucks!” I laugh to myself and shake my head. After seeing F2000 open wheel cars and Porsche GT3 drive head to head, who would want to watch some trucks crawl there way around a street circuit? I stand up from the barrier that separates certain race car-related-death and safety. I was about to leave the photo hole when I noticed JCB tractors carrying long metal ramps onto the front straight. I suddenly felt a childish excitement wash over me as the trucks bellowed onto the starting grid. Angry machines, no bigger than a Ford Focus and look like life sized toys. They had massive exposed shocks and plastic body paneling.
Down the straight I see an official walk up the ramp and face the trucks. I looked over my shoulder and to my surprise, the stands that were relatively empty during the day had completely filled. They all start to rev, louder and louder. The intense heat from the engines reached me and the noise began to swell as the crowd cheered. I look back to the official, he raised the green flag above his head.
The flag dropped, all hell broke loose.
For the safety of the official, during the second day, he was to start the race from the pit wall.
Robby Gordon started Super Stadium Trucks after his departure from Indycar and Nascar. He believed the gap between the winning and losing teams was becoming far to great due to the amount of money invested by bigger teams and lack of resources for the smaller ones (*cough* F1 *cough*). He created SST with the idea of equality. Each competing vehicle would be identical, only small adjustments could be made by each team. The trucks have the legendary LS Chevy 6.0L V8 that punches out 600hp and 600 lb-ft. The suspension has a comical amount of travel. It makes the truck sit relatively high and so sits the center of gravity. It makes for quite a spectacle when they corner at speed.
I stared in awe as a dozen trucks launched themselves off the ramp a few feet in front of me. I learned from one of the officials that the trucks hit the ramps at 80MPH and launch themselves 160 feet down the straight. Drivers have to hit the ramp perfectly. If not, there’s the possibility of not landing square and flipping. 4 ramps are scattered throughout the course. 2 of them are trickier because they are close to turns so drivers have to regulate their speed. The other 2 are laid on the straight where there’s nothing to hold them back. When the trucks reached the 5th lap, threatening storm clouds loomed overhead and rain began to fall. To my, and everyone else’s dismay, the remainder of the race was cancelled.
The next day I was walking through the festival grounds when I heard the same announcement “Ladies and gentlemen, make your way to the stands for the next feature, Super Stadium Trucks!”. It was time for the second round of flying-truck-madness. I rushed to the fence and pushed my way past the crowds and security to get to the photo hole. The trucks roared on to the starting grid for a second time. I settled myself against the barrier and brought my camera to my eye. Down the straight I saw the green flag rise into the air. I smiled to myself as the flag dropped.