It looks like the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach has a new support series.
Former NASCAR and CART driver Robby Gordon is starting his Stadium Super Truck Series. Basically it’s stadium motocross, but for trucks. The idea has been done before, and there’s probably a market for it. I wish him nothing but the best, and apparently he’s working with Indycar.
There haven’t been a ton of details about the series released so far, but the schedule is out and it includes a race at the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 21. Indycar will also be racing at the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 21, so it looks like they will be a pre-race entertainment. I say why stop with Long Beach?’
If the organizers wanted to make it happen it could be a feature of a number of street races:
- The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg surrounds Progress Energy Park, a minor league baseball stadium with a seating capacity of 11,000.
- The Honda Grand Prix of Toronto races around BMO Field at Exhibition Place. The outdoor soccer area seats 20,000 spectators and could add to an already full weekend of racing.
- The Baltimore Grand Prix races around Camden Yards on Sept. 1. Why not host a Saturday night race in there? This year Orioles last home game is August 25 and they don’t play at home again until Sept. 4.
- On October 5 and 6 Reliant Stadium will host the Shell Grand Prix of Houston double-header in its parking lot and side streets. Why not have a Saturday night race inside the stadium as well?
One of the problems the Indycar series suffers from is not having a really engaging Saturday show. Robby Gordon is starting a new series from scratch, and could benefit from some cross promotion. Gordon needs arenas, Indycar races around arenas. Gordon needs fans, street races draw large number of racing fans.
Having sat through Mazda Star, Firestone Indy Lights, Continental Grand-Am and USF-2000 races I can say they don’t generate a whole lot of excitement. They certainly don’t compare the NASCAR Naitonwide Series when it comes to entertainment value. That said, I would totally pay a little extra to see a Super Truck Race on Saturday evening. Not only that, over the summer Gordon invited J.R. Hildebrand to take part in an outdoor test. If there was a Saturday night truck race in Reliant Stadium featuring Indycar drivers like Hildebrand racing in an all-star stadium truck event with some of the developmental guys like Sage Karam and Zach Veach, that could be epic.
I’m a fan of anything that will make the weekends more exciting. I’m a fan of anything that will add more value to a weekend and a little bit of cross promotion could go a long way. Bruton Smith and Humpty Wheeler helped make NASCAR a success by turning the race into an event, a show, Indycar could benefit from that example.