Stadium Super Trucks Race at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
Robby Gordon’s vision to bring back stadium-style off-road racing to the masses finished its first season – and it did so with a bang. Building a street-style off-road course just in front of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Stadium Super Trucks finished its inaugural season at the end of SEMA week last night.
With a tight program that featured two-wheel action in the form of supermoto racing and four-wheel action in the form of Stadium Super Trucks, the course literally ran in the streets just in front of Caesar’s, driving through the arch of the video display on the strip, hopping over curbs and launching off metal jumps over hedges.
The series went through its share of changes during the year, with a rotating group of racers competing throughout the year and a few date changes along the way. There were large stadium races at the Coliseum, Qualcomm Stadium and University of Phoenix Stadium, and then there were races at non-purpose-built off-road tracks such as the Long Beach Grand Prix, Honda Indy Toronto, the Sand Sports Super Show and the Las Vegas Strip. Part of the reason Gordon was able to pull off some of the events is due to the relationship he has.
“I’m pretty happy with where we’re at. We had a packed house at the end of the night, and I think everybody saw some carnage,” Gordon said of last night’s race. “People will obviously talk about it, and the Las Vegas strip will probably never be the same, but we’re fortunate to be able to pull an event like this. I’m just really proud that I have good friends like Tom Jenkins [of Caesars Entertainment] and the guys from Harrahs and Caesars who took a shot with us, and the guys from Forum Shops as well. There’s a whole group here in Las Vegas that gave us this opportunity, and it was a lot of stuff out on a limb trying to pull this deal off so I’m just proud and happy.”
When it came to the racing, the action was intense – due in part to the tight course the Stadium Super Trucks crew put together. The supermoto racers hit the track first, with the Dash for Cash race starting off the night and later fans were treated to the main event. The main featured a number of bikes on the track at the same time, with Micky Dymond leading the pack for much of the race. Unfortunately, the frontrunners eventually ran into lapped riders on the short course, which provided just enough of an opening for Gage McAllister, who was sitting in second behind Dymond much of the race, the opportunity he needed to move into first and take the win.
“The track was different, extremely tight compared to what I’m used to, but the event – this is the most spectators we’ve ever had at a supermoto event so that’s really good,” McAllister said. “So I’m pretty off the event so hopefully we can do something like this again.”
After five-car heat races earlier in the night won by Todd LeDuc and Gordon, it was time for the main event with eight trucks on the track at the same time. The action was intense, but the tight track did prove to be trouble for the full field, who didn’t make it past the first turn without a pileup. Tight racing and the occasional crash kept the fans on their toes. The action also forced a few racers out of the action, such as LeDuc going out after a belt broke on his truck, and Sheldon Creed who was forced out after breaking a control arm on his right front wheel.
It was PJ Jones made the most of the night in SST, jumping out to an early lead in the race and using the tight track, which made passing extremely tough, to his advantage to take the win.
“Up until about 12 or 15 to go, it was trouble-free for me. I was smooth and made no mistakes and then the motor started missing,” Jones said after the race. “It was missing so bad down the front straightaway that I didn’t think we were going to make it honestly, and I’m lucky to not have another restart and not have to pass anybody or have anyone right on my tail; otherwise they would have driven right by me on the main straightaway.”
During the 30-lap main, there were a number of restarts due to crashes occurring at different sections of the course. Fortunately for Jones, there weren’t as many restarts late in the race when he was having motor issues.
“Well really there was nowhere to make opportunities [to pass], so that’s why I knew I had to come out here and have a mistake-free race and just do everything right,” Jones said. “I didn’t make any mistakes, I missed my line maybe a foot here, a foot there, a couple time and all the battling was all going on behind me so it made it a lot easier on me.”
Finishing in second place was Gordon, while third place went to Arie Luyendyk, Jr. who was able to survive a number of pileups earlier in the race and out-last the other racers to make the podium.
Looking toward 2014, Gordon said that the schedule will be announced in the coming months, and he said he plans for more racing like we saw in Las Vegas.
“[Expect] more stuff like this,” he said. “With the vehicles that we have, we don’t need purpose-built racetracks, we can go in urban off-roading and do things different that is outside of the norm that takes off-road racing to different audiences. The core off-road guys know what off-road racing is, and they know what stadium Super Trucks is, but the reality is we have to go in a different direction to grow the sport.”
For more information, visit StadiumSuperTrucks.com.
1. Gage McAllister
2. Micky Dymond
3. Shane Narbone
Stadium Super Trucks
1. PJ Jones
2. Robby Gordon
3. Arie Luyendyk, Jr.
SST Heat 1
1. Todd LeDuc
2. PJ Jones
3. Arie Luyendyk, Jr.
SST Heat 2
1. Robby Gordon
2. Rob MacCachren
3. Sheldon Creed