American Racing

SST: The NASCAR connection at Road America

Credit: Stadium Super Trucks

This upcoming weekend, the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks will race at Road America for the first time in series history. Running as a support event to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, SST’s ties to NASCAR have continued to grow as the weekend looms.

The Stadium Super Trucks have proven to be another stomping ground for those in the stock car world. Series founder Robby Gordon was a longtime face in NASCAR until he formed SST, while two-time series champion Sheldon Creed has started climbing up the stock car ladder. Many other SST drivers have had experience in NASCAR, including former race winner P.J. Jones, 2013 runner-up Rob MacCachren, and even 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup (now Monster Energy Cup) champion Rusty Wallace competed in the series’ X Games round in 2015.

Road America has hosted the Xfinity Series since 2010. Starting this weekend, SST will join NASCAR’s second-tier league at the 4.048-mile road course. While it is not the first time SST has raced alongside a NASCAR national series in a weekend (that honor belongs to Texas Motor Speedway; although the Verizon IndyCar Series is the main event, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and SST are both support races), it is the first in which NASCAR is the primary show and the first alongside the Xfinity Series.

As such, the SST/NASCAR connection is out in full force in the days leading up to Saturday’s Johnsonville 180.

NASCAR veteran Casey Mears, who made his SST debut last December at Lake Elsinore Diamond, will return to the series for the first time in 2018 at Road America, once again driving the #57 UFD Racing truck. The final entry list will be released as the weekend approaches.

On Tuesday morning, Greg Biffle visited SST headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina to participate in a test session. Driving Mears’ truck, he was described by the series Twitter account as being “very quick,” though no plans of competing in a race have been made. Biffle won nineteen races across fifteen seasons (2002 to 2016) in the NASCAR Cup Series, including a second-place points finish in 2005. Along with Johnny Benson and Austin Dillon, he is one of three drivers who have won a championship in NASCAR’s Xfinity and Truck Series.

While the Xfinity field doesn’t have any crossovers with the SST grid, various Xfinity drivers have expressed their excitement for the trucks in a video published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “All I know is that those things get on with it,” defending Johnsonville 180 winner Jeremy Clements said. “They jump, go in the air, and they haul the tail, I’ll tell you that. I’m looking forward to seeing them. Should be a pretty exciting deal, and I didn’t know they were going to be there until now.”

“It will be interesting to see. I have not been able to watch in person, so I’m excited for it. I think it’s going to be cool,” current Xfinity points runner-up Justin Allgaier stated before quipping, “I think we should leave the jumps in for the NASCAR stuff. I think that’d be interesting.

“I’m excited. It’ll be nice to be able to get up in close and personal and see what’s going on and just check out all of it.”

When prompted about being interested in competing in the series, Cole Custer and Daniel Hemric, who sit fourth and fifth in the standings, respectively, both voiced their approval. “I think it would be awesome to drive one, but I’ve never really seen it that much, though,” Custer commented.

Hemric built his comment on his experience watching the series in Detroit. “I’m in for any kind of new adventure. I think it’d be cool. I went somewhere up in Detroit and watched them run the Indy[Car] race and they ran them in that course there. I thought, ‘My gosh, it’s pretty wild,’ so yeah, I’m up to try it.”

“I would ride for sure, but definitely, if I had the opportunity, I’d race it in a heartbeat,” Allgaier added. “[T]he venues that they’ve been able to race at, that’s probably the coolest part for me, but also, too, the racing style. It’s just go for broke, all out, a hundred percent, it’s just cool racing.”

“I’ve been forward to watching them and I’d love to drive one one day,” Clements remarked. “Hey, anybody out there who wants me to drive it, I’ll drive it.”

The first race will be held on Friday afternoon before final Xfinity practice, while the second will take place before the Johnsonville 180 on Saturday.

UPDATE (8/22): Via Twitter, Gordon has confirmed Biffle will make his SST debut at Road America on Friday. In the entry list, Biffle is listed as driving the #25 truck; while Arie Luyendyk Jr. usually pilots the #25, he is unable to do so at Road America due to scheduling conflicts.

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