Off-road truck-racing series honoring pioneer with trophy name
The inaugural season of the Stadium Super Trucks (SST) off-road racing series continues this Sunday afternoon, April 21, in Long Beach, Calif. at the historic Toyota Grand Prix. SST trucks will run the same street course as the IndyCar Series, hitting metal ramps and flying 120 feet down the straightaway.
The event follows SST officials’ announcement that the 2013 Speed Energy SST season champion will be the recipient of the Mickey Thompson Championship Trophy, named in honor of the late championship racer, innovator and promoter.
Born December 7, 1928, in San Fernando, Calif., Thompson was an integral player in the West Coast drag-racing scene of the 1950s. His most notable achievement during this time was the creation of the first slingshot dragster in 1954. However, it was during Mickey’s time managing the Lion Drag Strip near Long Beach, Calif., that he created some of the most innovative improvements in racing safety. The development of the “Christmas tree” starting lights that are implemented throughout drag racing today took the human starter out of the equation. During the same period, it was Mickey’s idea to fill barrels with water to help absorb a car’s energy during a crash; the same safety technique is now used in SST competition.
As a championship driver, Thompson set more speed and endurance records than any other driver in automotive history, according to an SST press release. A 2007 Automobile Quarterly article estimated that Thompson participated in more than 10,000 races, drove more than 1 million race miles, and set nearly 500 speed and endurance records, including 295 records at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
He also founded Score International in 1973, a sanctioning body to oversee endurance off-road racing throughout North America. Thompson continuously said that the only ones to enjoy this form of magnificent racing were “cactus and jackrabbits.” He wanted to bring the excitement of desert racing to a wider audience, a goal of a piece with the SST series’ efforts.
Said SST Founder and President (and NASCAR driver) Robby Gordon, “There was no other name more fitting for the Stadium Super Trucks Championship Trophy than … Mickey Thompson. What we are doing was Mickey’s vision back in the day of bringing off-road to the masses. People are able enjoy a fun night of racing and entertainment while being in some of the finest facilities throughout North America.”
The winner of the SST championship will hold the Mickey Thompson trophy for exactly one year. At that point it will be returned to series officials to award to the following year’s champion.
Tickets to see the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend are available for purchase online via this link.
Here’s the SST standings following the last race, held in Arizona:
- Rob MacCachren, 42 points
- Robby Gordon 33
- Justin Matney 29
- Greg Adler 27
- P.J. Jones 26
- Justin Lofton 23
- Arie Luyendyk Jr. 20
- Tied: Nick Baumgartner, Mike Jenkins, Jeff Ward, all with 19 points
- Lalo Laguna 18
- Austin Kimbrell 14