For the first time in Toyo Tires Stadium Super Truck history, the series would go outside of North America, making a trip down under for their Australian debut as part of the Clipsal 500. In the eyes of series founder and leader Robby Gordon, the event was a success.
“It was a good event for us,” Gordon commented. “The track was great for Stadium Super Trucks. The ramp placement where I thought we should place them worked out very well, and unfortunately I didn’t win any races. I just had less problems than anybody else and put myself in a position to capitalize. So three second places got us the lowest points. I’m glad to see three different guys won so it shows how competitive the series is, and obviously if we get the opportunity to come back next year, we’ll bring more trucks because more trucks will produce a better race.”
The events brought forth a lot of interest by the locals, as they were standing up and getting into cheering on the drivers and taking in the action, that included some of their local heroes. Matt Mingay did the best of the Australian driver that raced, finishing third overall.
“Even at the IndyCar races in Detroit, Shawn says it’s best because he’s done Monster Jam back in the day. He says, ‘You won’t need the seat that you’re going to buy because you’ll standing up the whole show’. That’s the case,” Gordon commented. “It does it here, and it does it in Detroit and Long Beach. It actually brings the fans out of the stands closer to the fence so they hurl up the cameras to get pictures of it.
“That’s one thing that’s unique about the sport. We bring them to the fence – and that’s a good thing. They want to take pictures and share with their friends, and I think that’s how the sport has evolved so fast. People are sharing it. Sheldon was trending as the hottest young kid in Australia right now, and I think that’s the reaction of the people. They want to touch it and feel it.”
There were a lot of logistics involved in making sure the trucks got over there, along with having the parts to repair the trucks in between each of the three races as need be.
“Besides being a good racecar driver, I’d consider myself as one of the best maguivers out there,” Gordon commented. “We will figure out how to fix this stuff, and that’s what we did. We called a local transmission shop and took my transmission – took my slipping parts out of it and put good parts in it.”
They also were able to fix Matt Mingay’s truck after he had an incident early in the weekend that bent the chassis. However, going to a local fabrication shop, they got it fixed and ready to go.
“The truck went to a local fabrication shop down the road – it’s probably some of the ugliest welds that I have seen on any of my race vehicles and not because an Australian welder did it as my guy did it,” Gordon continued. “He said he’d pull the trigger and it’d just give it gas. The truck lived. The truck was perfect and good enough to go racing. I don’t think it affected Matt’s result as I got to watch Matt as I was lined up right behind him and EJ (Viso). EJ just wrecked him. They got hooked front bumper to rear bumper and were just stuck there for a second. That wasn’t his fault. It just put him back where our group got away, and the trucks are reliable.”
Gordon added that they brought a lot of parts to make sure they could fix them, and they still have a lot of parts left.
Based on the success, it’s a huge possibility the series will return to Adelaide next year, as Gordon said that he enjoyed working with the track officials.
“Nathan has been a man of his word, doing everything he promised and more,” Gordon commented. “Obviously it’s his decision if he wants us back, and I want to come back and I believe that we will be back next year.”
There’s also the possibly expanding their footprint in Australia. If they were to add a series of races, which would only happen if enough, part of that could involve having a group of trucks that stay in Australia all the time.
“Going back and forth is a long ways,” Gordon shared. “Not so much jumping on an airplane, but logistically shipping cars and going through customs. Obviously if it’s something that took off here, we’d need to run a couple of races and see if it’d stick. The races are exciting, like you saw today. We do half a season of these, and a couple of parking lot races. It sounds pretty crazy, but you can run these things. We do some parking lot races like the Las Vegas strip during the SEMA show – which is the MGM Parking Lot. We run the Caesar’s parking lot on the strip as well. Those turn into total demolition derbies because we never get out of second gear. Then we do some stadium events. Besides the street racing, urban off-road would definitely work and I think I’d like to see a stadium event stick as well, mixed in with Supercross or something else.”
Beyond a possibility of expanding further in Australia, there is the possibility of heading to Europe and doing some events there.
“We have been invited to Goodwood,” Gordon said. “We’re going to take two trucks – I believe the Traaxas truck and the Speed Energy truck. That’ll be the first step for Europe. This thing is still a baby. Once people touch them and feel them, they love them.
“We’ve got our schedule in place for this year, but there has been talk of adjustments already. We’re only race one and the good thing about this is you can adjust the thing. You can make the rules as you want them and do what’s best for the series. We’ll go back, re-group and see what’s best for the series.”