The Stadium Super Trucks series is at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for two races. If you’re asking yourself, “What are Stadium Super Trucks?” you’re missing out. SST races sound, well, dumb, and that’s why they’re dumb fun. These trucks race the same road courses as sportscars will, except they have to go over jumps and dirt, all while reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. This weekend, they’re on the same track as the NASCAR racers at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
What is a Stadium Super Truck race?
First, take a purpose-built race truck for dirt, then put it on a street race course, and add some jumps and dirt sections, and you get the idea. But these trucks are not really designed for street courses, so the action is wild as they sway, tilt, slide and drift around street courses on the same 35-inch DOT-rated street tires that you can buy at your local Costco. The trucks look a lot like Trophy Trucks or pre-runners, but the look is about all that that’s the same.
Drivers don’t have to hit the jumps in the middle of the track. But, since they’re placed on the racing line, they’re quicker if they don’t go around them. Each ramp is 10 feet wide, and three feet high, and drivers routinely fly 150 feet. Often, like at a rally-cross event, trucks will go from dirt to pavement to dirt on the same lap.
What is a Stadium Super Truck?
According to TopSpeed, these trucks are monsters. They are about the size of a small pickup, like a 1990s Ford Ranger, and the driver sits nearly in the middle. But, they have Chevy V8 engines that make about 600 horsepower, an automatic transmission (!), and tall off-road suspension. They weigh less than 3,000 pounds so they have an incredible power-to-weight ratio that gets them to more than 140 miles per hour on the fastest tracks. Each truck is worth about $300,000.
Who to watch out for this weekend
This season Gavin Harlien is in the lead, but Max Gordon and Robert Stout are not too far behind in the stats. Harlien, who is just 23, has competed in stock cars, off-road races, and more. But, by far, he’s making the most of his SST career so far. Fun fact, he’s the youngest competitor in a motorized competition at the X-Games.
Robby Gordon, the son of “Baja Bob” Gordon, started the series in 2013. It was reportedly inspired by an off-road series sponsored by Mickey Thompson where drivers such as Jimmie Johnson got their start.