Photos courtesy of Jim Ober/Trackside Photo
On Tuesday night the LA Memorial Coliseum reverberated to the sounds of race trucks again as and others made demonstration runs through the peristyle onto dirt atop the football field.
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s this same stadium was the scene of many fiercely contested off-road truck races that saw stars such as , , Roger Mears, Walker Evans, Ivan Stewart and Jimmie Johnson as well as Robby Gordon battle each other in front of sold-out crowds.
The races were part of the series of races run by the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group. Mickey Thompson, who was assassinated in 1988, had brought the series to fruition as he sought to bring desert off-road racing to fans in cities.
Gordon, who has given up running a full season, said he has longed to bring back stadium racing. It was gratifying to see Colleen Campbell, Mickey Thompson's sister, and his son, Danny Thompson, helping Gordon introduce the Stadium Super Trucks series to fans and media.
The series, currently with backing from Traxxas, is still in early stages of planning, but Gordon plans to have identical off-road race trucks built and drivers will not get to choose which one they drive. Specs are sparse at present but drivers will be able to choose tires and shock settings.
One innovative idea, to keep costs down, is a pressure sensitive nerf bar that if it hit above a certain force the car's power is drastically reduced for a few seconds. So, no hard bumping from behind.
Aside from the spec trucks other weekend races will include one for amateur drivers in small UTVs and another for monster trucks. The most amazing aspect of the planned series is that there will be a $500,000 prize for the champion at the end of the year and each event will have a first place prize of $40,000.
Gordon has already drawn praise for his initiative and several established off-road drivers have said they will compete. We can expect new up and coming drivers, such as Samuel Hübinette and Justin Lofton, fresh of his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory, to compete when the series gets underway next year.