Not all of the action is stopped once the checkered flag has flown. Just notice how the fan's applause follow the racers to the podium. While taking in the admiration of the fans racer's are quick to acknowledge their crew, family and sponsors for placing them on the podium. Such is racing. And the same could be said for short course off-road racing history itself. Today one watches all the excitement of several classes of racecars from a grandstand or even from the comfort of their living room while taking in the action on TV. Just as the appreciative racer is on the podium we also need to appreciate those that set in motion our beloved sport of short course off-road racing. In fact it is our responsibility to recognize as many of those possible that helped bring our favorite motor sport to fruition. We have no way of mentioning all involved in producing this exciting form of motorsport but just as it is necessary for a racer to appreciate his support, it is the fans duty to recognize those that gave us short course off-road racing.
One of the more recent events in short course history happened in 2013 with the return of stadium off-road racing when Robby Gordon introduced his new Super Truck SST series. The stadium racing model brought back a concept of legendary racer Mickey Thompson's series that ran from 1979-95. The term stadium racing is descriptive enough and differentiates it from short course style racing. It was this revitalization that brought to light the need for how short course racing evolved and allow us the opportunity to shine some well deserved attention on many of those that worked to bring stadium and short course racing before racing fans.
Looking back one will note that stadium racing evolved from short course events. Short course racing in turn came from off-road events dating back to the late 1940’s, if not earlier. It is the transition of off-road racing closed course, to short course, and eventually stadium racing that concerns us. We haven't the room to mention every series that contributed in the history but we can focus on the more prominent events.
When race fans walk through the gates at a professional off-road short course or stadium event today they are greeted by rows of aftermarket equipment suppliers and various food vendors. Having its roots in desert racing it has not always been this way. To witness off-road racing fans would have to drive hours and camp in some of the roughest conditions only to get a glimpse of the racing action as it passed by. Today, after taking in the midway extravaganza fans make their way to grandstands and enjoy one the best forms of racing known to man.
As we stated the SST series is new while short course off-road fans today have two other major series; Lucas Oil Off-road Series LOORS and The Off-Road Championship TORC series, presented by TRAXXAS, both bringing the sport to American venues and into homes via TV production. With LOORS and TORC receiving all the attention today we thought it only fair to notice the evolution of the sport from it's bare bones beginnings to today's spectacular form of racing.
Many fans remember the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Championship Gran Prix MTEG and those a little older will remember the events held at Riverside Raceway. Although being the most notable of earlier events the credit for establishing the first recognized short course racing should go to off-road racer turned promoter Brian Chuchua.