SST Qualcomm Stadium (May 18)

The Robby Gordon Stadium Super Trucks SST series made a repeat appearance in the San Diego Qualcomm Stadium May 18. Having raced at the venue just two weeks before the event brought back many repeat fans for Gordon’s version of this wild supercross style truck racing event. The new form of stadium racing is proving to be a driver’s racing series. The combination of dirt and asphalt racecourses are tight with many obstacles to challenge the drivers, add in the crossover jumps where competitors are flying over those crossing underneath keeps and the action keeps fans entertained throughout event. With five unique class divisions of Super Trucks, Monster Trucks, Super Buggy’s, Modified Karts and now Super Moto bikes there was a wide range of action for all the fans.

Stadium Super Trucks
First onto the stadium course was heat one of the Super Trucks consisting of seven of Gordon’s specially built 600+ HP trucks. On the pole was Lalo Laguna with Arie Luyendyk Jr alongside. Once racing, Laguna had jumped out front but had trouble negotiating turn two. Coming from the second row starting position Nick Baumgartner took control of the race but on the next lap Ricky Johnson took control after Baumgartner had stalled at the switch back. However Baumgartner was able to get back into action and hold second. Behind him was Robby Gordon. When Baumgartner had his problem it allowed Johnson to pull a comfortable lead and Baumgartner was able to get away quicker than Gordon to gain some breathing room over Gordon. The running order stayed the same for a couple of laps before Baumgartner had trouble again at the switch back section and Gordon drove past for second. Gordon got loose over the asphalt jumps and Baumgartner was able to retake second. Soon after the action had to be brought under control when Luyendyk got his truck up on his top. When the green came out Johnson had the lead with Baumgartner second and Gordon third. A couple of laps later Johnson’s steering gear gave up giving Baumgartner the lead. The following lap Gordon was able to get inside of Baumgartner for the lead. Once in the front Gordon proved unbeatable with Baumgartner taking second.

Heat two for the SST class brought out six competitors with Mike Jenkins and PJ Jones sharing the front row. Due to the inversion quick time qualifier Sheldon Creed was outside row three with Rob MacCachren inside of him. On the start Jenkins jumped out front and coming from the second row to grab second was Jerett Brooks, as Jones had been shuffled to the back of the pack on the start. The running order remained the same for four laps until Jenkins spun and held up Brooks as well. Coming out of the option was Creed taking charge with MacCachren second and Brooks was able to recover for third. The young gun Creed had the race in hand for a couple of laps before getting loose in turn one and MacCachren was eager to take his position. With just two laps to go Rob MacCachren held on for the win and Sheldon Creed crossed over second. Jerett Brooks was third.

A Last Chance Qualifier for the SST division brought out seven trucks. On the pole was Justin Loftin with Ricky Johnson in his repaired truck. On the start Loftin got the jump on Johnson with PJ Jones taking third. A couple of laps later Loftin went wide in the switch back turn and Johnson was able to cut inside for the lead. Loftin held that position for a couple more laps before Jones was able to get by him. Then with just one lap to go Jones suffered what looked like a broken spindle and had to drop out. Ricky Johnson went on for the win and Justin Loftin was second. Greg Adler finished third.

There were 13 SST on course for the 20 lap main event. Starting from the front row were Arie Luyendyk Jr and the hometown favorite Sheldon Creed. Row two had Nick Baumgartner and Rob MacCachren. On the start Baumgartner took control with Luyendyk second and coming from his third row starting spot was Robby Gordon for third as Creed had been shuffled back to fourth. On the following lap Gordon took the cross-over jump and came out the leader after the switch back. A couple of laps later PJ Jones seemed so proud of his American Racing Wheels he put all four up in the air for all to see and brought out a full course caution. After Jones was turned back over and racing started the order remained with Gordon in the lead, Baumgartner was second and now Creed had moved to third. On lap five Baumgartner had some handling problems and Creed took over second with Luyendyk third. The racers started gathering up some speed for four laps before Laguna slowed things down by getting on top of the turn four barrier. During the caution Jenkins was taken off course on the hook and Jessie Johnson pulled off pouring fluids from the truck. Once racing again Luyendyk lost his third place position to MacCachren after MacCachren was able to drive over the hood of Luyendyk’s truck. The running order was now Gordon, Creed and MacCachren. A couple of yellows were to follow but the remaining laps were really about the front two runners. Robby Gordon was in charge but he had a hard charging 15-year old Sheldon Creed matching his speed lap after lap. Creed actually pulled ahead of the iconic racer for half a lap before Gordon was able to regain the lead. With two laps to go Creed again threatened for the lead but Gordon was able to hold him off. At the checkers it was Robby Gordon holding on for the win with Sheldon Creed second. Rob MacCachren finished third. On the podium Gordon commented he had a great battle with the youngster Creed. “With two laps to go he got inside of me. So the next lap I went over the big cross-over jump and we came out of the inside outside line side by side coming to the last corner. It was a great race.”
After five rounds of the 11 race series in the books Robby Gordon leads the series but has Rob MacCachren second by two points. PJ Jones is tied for third with Justin Loftin who are 60 points behind the leader.

Super Buggy
The Super Buggy entries were down from the previous event held at Qualcomm. At this event a familiar name set fast qualifying time as Jerry Whelchel turned in a best lap of 38.729 seconds over Eric Jacobus’ 39.752 timed lap. When they came out to race due to the inversion Rob Archibald shared the front row with Michael “Bud” Ward. When the green was thrown Archibald clipped a barrier and broke his right front suspension, so second row starter Eddie Tafoya found his way to the front of the pack with the previous main event winner Apdaly Lopez on his tail. A caution then came out as Ward had got his buggy up and was resting on two wheels. On the restart Tafoya allowed Lopez to steal his lead in turn two. Once out front Lopez was able to clear himself from the pack. With Lopez in charge and in the clear the battle was for second, which was between Tafoya and Whelchel. Mid race Whelchel was able to out jump Tafoya over a double jump to take the second spot. Then a couple of laps later Whelchel stalled in turn three allowing Tafoya to retake second. Apdaly Lopez was able to drive home the winner of both the San Diego Super buggy events. Eddie Tafoya (winner in Phoenix) was a distant second and Michael Ward took the last spot on the podium.

Super Karts
There were 13 Super Trophy Karts on course for the 10 lap main event. Taking advantage of his front row starting position was Brock Heger with Myles Cheek pulling in behind him. On lap three Heger stalled allowing both Cheek and Cole Mamer to get past. While leading the event Cheek flipped over the double jump ending his evening. On the restart Heger again took the lead but racing was brought to a halt as Mamer rolled when he didn’t make the double jump. After the restart Heger stalled and with only two taps to go Shelby Anderson inherited the lead with Brock Dickerson second. Dickerson would then spin in a turn and Gavin Harlien moved to second. Shelby Anderson was able to hold onto the win with Gavin Harlien second and Darren Hardesty Jr third. On the podium Anderson, the first female series winner, was awarded one of the TRAXXAS remote control cars. To the astonishment of the fans she went into the grandstands and gave it to one of the lucky fans.

Monster Trucks
In the Monster Truck final elimination battle for the evening Larry Swim piloting the Speed Energy Bigfoot entry defeated Darren Minges driving the Bounty Hunter.

Super Moto
For the first time in SST action Super Moto bikes were introduced to race fans with Derek Costella setting quick qualifying time and taking the main win. Dustin Hoffman was second and Danny Casey finished third.

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