Word of Wheels: Stadium truck comeback


Word of Wheels Logo

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.

(AE teammates Chad Parks and Jeremy Cathlina resurrecting their memories with freshly re-built GT2’s)

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?

(Jorn Neumann racing Mod Truck at the 2014 Cactus Classic)

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:

Lacne(Lance Macdonald hard at work. Photo by Jeff Keeton – JVK Photography)

“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.

gast truck grid
(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.

(Adam Drake prepping Ronda Drake’s old school gas truck for some new school gas truck racing .)

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.

tlr22(Photo by Jeff Keeton – JVK Photography)

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.”

(Photo by Jeff Keeton – JVK Photography)

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)?


  • kevin starr

    bring it , i never let my mf1 go.

  • Eugene McNair

    Since I have been racing since 1990 Stadium class was very large,and i do admit I have seen it shrink down to almost nothing. Also I have seen Short course trucks take over. In the past months ,I have heard word from a few friends who race at OCRC other tracks on the west cost that Stadium class is coming back,whats slipping is 2wd short course truck, but 4wd short course truck is holding on pretty well,and for that reason most 4wd short course trucks are a slightly scaled down version of 1/8th scale buggy’s. I have seen this as true at a race i attend at CRC in Rome NY. where the 2wd short course class was only 2 heats and the 4wd class was 4 heats.

  • Devin Byrnes

    ST will probably never reach it’s prior peak as long as the truck driving market is split between two classes…

    ST is making a resurgence in our area, outnumbering SC entries at the last trophy race. As e-buggy takes over 8th scale from nitro there are more hybrid tracks that run 10th and 8th scales on the same race day. The big jumps that 8th scalers like are more enjoyable with the ST than with the SCT, which has a frustrating parachuting effect. .

  • Billy Easton

    well what first needs to happen is ROAR updates the scale rules.. Right now, mod buggies are sometimes longer than the trucks..If not the same length.. All the while, they allow SCT trucks to be significantly longer.. The rules for 1.10 truck are out of date, the class can not really grow until they correct the rules. Then the manufacturers can update the designs, so that they are easier to drive and essentially more fun.. In turn, better trucks for updated rules, = a chance to see new growth

    • Paul Mylonas

      Billy , what i would love to see is a 2wd 1/8 Scale Stadium Truck , now that would be something exciting….

  • Tony Hines

    It may make a comeback this time, especially if AE and TLR bring back new trucks. The last chance for a rebound was when the 22T came out. Unfortunately, what killed the class was a total lack of tires available. There were many people that bought 22T’s and others that blew the dust off their T4’s only to find that there were no tires available other than play tires. The tire companies had stopped developing tires because the class was slow and people lost interest. It was 6 months after the release of the 22T before any useful tires were available. Even the existing tire designs that would work were all out of stock within a week of the 22T being released. Most people shelved or sold their trucks because they couldn’t run them without rubber. There are tire options out there now so a fresh crop of trucks may refresh the class this time.

  • Brad Comis

    Stadium truck is great class and I used to love racing it back in 03-07. Better in the rough than buggies, and still a nice technical drive that teaches throttle control. It’s so cheap compared to 4wd classes too. Good stuff.

  • Rob E Oldschlracer

    The problem as I see it is because it splinters THE “truck class” …. as in it further dilutes fields already running SCT.
    Let’s be real, once SCT came along it killed what was left of the ST class, if there was anything left to kill off – and realistically, we don’t need a second 2wd truck class. So we’ve already jumped that bandwagon away from ST, let’s not go back just because people want to make excuses to go trophy hunting. And frankly, once SCT had superceeded the SCT as THE 2wd Truck Class the ruling body(s) should have done away with Stadium Trucks in the rulebook.
    I remember BITD when ST was invented, and it was a great addition at many tracks to get more people into running off-road, as was mentioned in the above column, they were easier to drive (especially on rough or loamy tracks) than buggies. But times have changed, tracks are more groomed, and any 1/10th track that is buggy appropriate is going to be SCT appropriate too.
    Not trying to start a big hullabuloo here – but SCT helped reinvigorate 1/10th scale off-road racing, and helped bring back 2wd buggies as a viable class. Let’s not make a mistake and help kill them off for the sake of adding another 2wd truck class.
    I just wish we’d let ST stay were it was, hanging on our mancave walls collecting dust.

  • Brian Gross

    A tlr 22t 2.0 would not nearly help the ST class as much as AE releasing a T5M. The b5/b5m has literally taken the tracks by storm and everybody sees how great a car it is..a new truck platform for people to take on would set the ST class on fire. Short course has been dwindling at our track and ST has been growing again. I never stopped racing my ST but I tried SCT for a series and hung it back on the shelf. Race what you wanna race but for my money a mod ST is the most fun I have on a weekly basis.

  • Dave K.

    I am one that did like the corr trucks because of the realesm, but it stops there! The corr truck class immediately turned into carnage, some of the best racing come from stadium truck class. Big tires BIG motors and CLOSE racing through the corners and over the jumps! Clean racing promoted itself because of the open wheels. I raced them back then, and I really miss the power and traction, accompanied by a well mannered vehicle. I am really EXCITED for the return of stadium trucks. I WILL race 2wd buggy and 2wd stadium truck just like the old days. Excited I am, waiting for the Associated T5m! Cross for fingers for all of the top brands to bring back these beasts to challenge the new era of lipos and Brush less systems. 🙂

  • Reinaldo Vega

    The R/C industry is indeed cyclical, and this churn is what keeps the money flowing. Remember when 4wd buggy almost died in the mid 90’s? Then it came back with the XX-4 and almost died again a few years ago. Now it’s back again with the aluminum chassis platforms and mini-8th scale designs like the D413. For each rising edge of that cycle, manufacturers make “new” stuff that you spend money on and in turn keep them in business. ST is on a rising edge now, so get your wallets ready.

    I don’t think anyone would argue that ST and SCT are in some ways mutually exclusive. They’re both 2wd trucks, and it’s hard to not run one at the expense of the other during a race program. I have 2wd buggy, 4wd buggy, 2wd SCT, 4wd SCT, and ST, but I can’t run them all in one day. First, it’s expensive and stressful, and second, it’s unfair to others who would have to marshal my races while I get to race every class in the program. That means picking two or three, and as a buggy person at heart, it really means picking one of the three available truck classes to run as my “extra” class. It’s similar for a lot of the people I normally race with. Truck racing in general has had an identity crisis. There’s Stadium Truck, Truggy, and Short Course, while on the flip side, a buggy is a buggy is a buggy.

    I do hope ST comes back and stays for a while, but all that really means is SCT will have its own resurgence at some point down the road. Or maybe the next truck resurgence will be something else entirely.

  • Phil Fernandez

    whatever happened to 1/10 nitro trucks? I still have my RC10GT and I’m dying to get it out in the track and race it again.