Although NASCAR racing had already broken its regional bonds and become a national phenomenon, there was still skepticism when the sanctioning body introduced pickup truck racing in the 1990s. But fans – and sponsors – soon discovered that truck racing was not only exciting and competitive, it also featured some of the top competitors in the world.
Now the Super Truck Racing Association of North America (STRANA) has decided to go one better. If pickups can provide spectators with a motorsports spectacle, why not break out the big rigs?
Class 8 truck racing has taken off in Europe, drawing millions of fans each year. Officials at STRANA expect the same reception in the United States, and they are introducing the sport with a three-event demonstration series this season. ESPN will broadcast a STRANA special Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m. EST, and series marketing director Craig Lerner hopes it will be the beginning of the sport’s rise to prominence.
“We’re elated that ESPN views STRANA and super truck racing as a viable property,” Lerner says. “I see ESPN’s broadcasts as a progression, another significant stride in STRANA’s development.
“Everyone involved with STRANA hopes this is the first step in a long and successful relationship with ESPN.”
STRANA has instant credibility, since it falls under the umbrella of the International Motor Sports Association. IMSA also sanctions American LeMans, Trans-Am, Panoz Racing, Historic GTP, Celebrity Challenge and the Star Mazda Series.
“This is a great step forward for STRANA as it continues to refine the product it is putting on North American tracks,” says STRANA executive director Brian Till.
STRANA is working primarily with the Professional Sports Car Racing circuit and Panoz-Sanchez Group, which is the leader in American road racing.
PSCR President Dennis Huth says, “North American motorsports fans are looking for something new and exciting, like super truck racing. Our agreement means fans will get to see super truck racing on road courses this summer.”
Meet the Driver
Hometown: Bellflower, Calif.
Marital Status: Single
Drives the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
Gordon picked up his first career Winston Cup victory last season when he edged out Jeff Gordon is the season finale at New Hampshire.
Robby first made a name for himself in the CART series, earning more that $4 million while driving open wheel vehicles. Last season was his first full year in Winston Cup.
Robby, whose nickname is “Flash,” lists boating, mountain biking and water skiing as his favorite hobbies.