In the early 2000’s, by far one of the most popular offroad racing classes in America was 1/10 scale 2wd stadium truck (both nitro and electric). As the year’s passed, the nitro stadium truck (aka “gas truck”) was the first to lose popularity as the all-new 1/8 truck (truggy) class was introduced. Shortly after, the electric stadium truck scene began to slowly disappear as well. Factory teams pulled their top drivers in the class, and put them in the fast-growing short course truck classes instead.
Before long, stadium truck all together was exctinct at many local, regional, and national level races across the country. Many believed that with the introduction of truggy and short course, the days of stadium truck were simply distant memories. As it turns out, those memories may not be so distant after all.
Within the last year, more and more events have re-introduced the gas truck class, including major events such as the Dirt Nitro Challenge, JConcepts 1:8 Nationals, ROAR Regionals, and more. Stock and modified electric stadium truck classes are beginning to see more and more entries on local, regional, and national level events as well…even a few “big guns” are back in the game. Could this be a comeback for stadium truck racing?
We turned to our good friend Lance Macdonald for his opinion on the matter. Lance is not only a racer himself, he is the father of up and coming racer Peyton Macdonald, and renowned race director/announcer from the sunny state of Florida. While we assumed we would get a “Yes” or “No” answer, we struck a hot topic in the world of Lance, and this is what he had to say:
“Racing has always had cycles. When I started over 3 years ago, 1/10 scale stadium truck was popular, but Short Course was on the rise and soon had taken over a lot of the racing at the local tracks we raced. It didn’t take long and it became hard to fill a class of just open stadium truck. For months, racing was dominated by buggy and short course. Short course even had its own national series with the Short Course Showdown. Now there is a change in the air here in Florida. Stadium has begun to regain popularity as heats are filling for both stock and modified truck.
(Photo by Jeff Keeton – JVK Photography)
In my opinion, stadium truck is a great way to get started in the hobby of R/C racing. With SCT you do have the protection of a full body and nice big tires, but this often allows beginners to bash lap after lap, and drive well above their ability without causing massive amounts of damage to the components of the truck. With stadium truck you get the open wheel, that I feel makes you more aware of others, and the limits that you can drive. Stadium truck still gives you a nice big contact patch of rubber to the track, much wider width than buggy, calming the truck down on rougher tracks making the open wheel learning curve often easier.
Sadly, TLR has stepped away from 1/10 scale stadium truck racing. The TLR 22T has been a great performer, and continues to be a very popular and widely used platform here in Florida. Kyosho has recently released their new RT6 that comes with everything needed to run a rear motor or mid motor setup in the kit. Team Associated’s rock solid T4.2 platform has also help regain its place in the lineup, and with rumors of a new T5 platform coming soon from the designers at AE’s Area 51, we are likely going to see another huge swing in the classes direction. With some companies looking to enhance their lines of truck for the loamy to high grip tracks, racers are beginning to expand their line up and run the classes of old once again.
The JConcepts Super Cup Championship Series is a great example of how the class is growing. Not long ago, races would only have an A-main of only 3 or 4 drivers. Now Stock Stadium Truck alone is pushing close to a C-main, and full fields of Modified Truck classes are in attendance as well.
(Modified Truck Racing at Round 4 of the JC Super Cup Series)
Monthly I see new racers preparing their new stadium trucks for weekend races through social media. Stadium Truck has many times provided some of the closest battles, that racers talk about for weeks after at local, club and state racing levels. Plus, I love the look of open wheel truck, as you can really see the truck and components work as racers push it to the limit.”
With all of that being said it seems as though Lance believes a comeback IS possible. From the sounds of things, he isn’t alone. Rumors are circling that the TLR 22T may not be as extinct as you may think. Discussion of pre-production testing of a new 22T 2.0 has been mentioned via social media, however, despite what some believe…everything on the internet isn’t necessarily true. From our understanding, TLR originally discontinued the original 22T due to a lack of demand. IF the social media rumor of pre-production 22T 2.0 testing is true, this leads us to believe that the “lack of demand” for stadium truck has in fact turned itself around…making for what some might call a stadium truck comeback.
What are YOUR thoughts? Is stadium truck racing making a comeback? Will the comeback be strong enough to see more new trucks (perhaps a TLR 22T 2.0 or Team Associated GT2.2)?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS, OPINIONS, AND COMMENTS BELOW!